Impact of Gender Bias on Pricing of Art

Is art made by female artists sold at a lower price simply because they were made by women? Literature Review Series #8: René Adams, Roman Kräussl, Marco Navone, Patrick Verwijmeren (2017)

We analyse the research paper – “Is gender in the eye of the beholder? Identifying cultural attitudes with art auction prices to understand if women are systematically more risk averse than men”- to understand the gender bias in art auction prices. Adams, Kräussal et al.(2017) concentrate only on the demand side of the problem i.e. they look at pricing of art in auction houses. They assume that there is no problem with the supply of art by female artists.

What is the methodology used by the authors?

The authors used two experiments to draw inferences on the relationship between gender of the artist and prices of the paintings. The first experiment included asking the population to guess the gender of the artist by observing a pre-decided list of paintings.The participants also had to provide a number that they would bid foreach of the paintings.This experiment helped the authors to analyse two aspects. Firstly, it helped them to analyse whether it is obvious that a piece of art is made by a female artist i.e. does female made art have observable similarities in themes or styles. Secondly, it helped them the analyse the impact of perceived gender of the artist(by the participants) on the prices bid for the paintings. Under the second experiment, each of the participants was asked to rate a list of 10 paintings, but the difference being that this time they could see the names of the artists (and hence recognise the gender of the artists before making a bid). This helped the authors analyse if there are any biases towards pices bid for paintings of female artists.

What are the results obtained by them?

From the first experiment, the authors inferred that the participants (who were people frequenting art galleries and auction houses) guessed majority of the paintings to be made by male artists. With regards to the bid prices for the paintings, it was inferred that the participants, who mainly comprised of affluent males frequenting art auction houses, did not appreciate female art as much as they did for paintings made by males (as was obvious from their low bids for female made art). For the second experiment, the authors found that the respondents perceived female made paintings to be of a lower quality, which was evident from the lower score given to female made art.

What do we recommend?

Firstly, it may be a useful technique to hide gender related characteristics, so as to avoid bias based on whether the person is male or female. Moreover, there is an issue of wrong valuation of the particular products because they are based on gender stereotypes. For example, investors might be biased against the stocks of a company because it has a woman CEO, art collectors might under-value a painting because it has been made by a female artist etc. Hence there should be mechanisms to mitigate this problem as well.

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Are women more risk averse than men?

Are women more risk averse than men? Is this pattern especially prominent in industries like Finance? Literature Review Series #7: Renée B. Adams and Vanitha Ragunathan(2015)

We analyse the research paper – “Lehman Sisters” to understand if women are systematically more risk averse than men. Adams and Ragunathan(2015) concentrate on a specific industry i.e. finance industry with focus on banking. They study in detail to check if the presence of women as top executives, led the banks to perform better during the times of crises.

What is the methodology used by the authors?

The authors consider origin risk (risks measured on the date that banks first appear in CSRP) as an exogenous measure for banks to see if boardroom diversity responds to changes in risk (based on Cheng, Hong and Scheinkman, 2015). Secondly, they account for gender diversity in the risk regressions using a Blau index of gender balance in director connections. In order to analyse whether more gender diverse boards have different responses which help to improve their performance, they consider the research done by Adams and Ferreira (2009). Thirdly, they try to find out if there is a difference between women who choose a career in finance and others who do not, especially with reference to the risk taking capabilities of these women. In order to analyse this further, they draw upon the research done by Sapienza, Zingales and Maestripieri (2009). The research considers the entire cohort of MBA students at the University of Chicago (including men). They run test on the responses of the sample to check if women have more risk taking abilities than men. Finally, they try to analyse the participation of women as board members in financial firms in comparison with non-financial firms. They do this by drawing upon the research done by Adams and Kirchmaier (2015b).

What are the results obtained by them?

They find that there is no conclusive evidence suggesting that boardroom gender diversity is associated with more risk taking capabilities, especially in the event of a crisis. Secondly,
male directors are more punctual and there is less absenteeism on their side when there are more women directors in the board. Thirdly, in the cohort of MBA students, women are more risk averse than men. Women who opt for a career in finance have lower risk aversion than other women who opt for careers in other industries. Whereas, this is not the case for the male students. And finally, they found that fewer women were on the boards of financial firms as compared to industrial firms.


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Do Gender Stereotypes Depend On Culture?

Are there any differences in the risk taking abilities of males and females? Does culture have an impact on these stereotypes? Literature Review Series #6:Pondorfer, Barsbai and Schmidt (2016)

We analyse the research paper – ““Gender Differences in Stereotypes of Risk Preferences:
Experimental Evidence from a Matrilineal and a Patrilineal Society” to understand the impact of cultural differences on the stereotypes of risk taking abilities between the two genders. Pondorfer, Barsbai and Schmidt (2016) examine stereotypes based on gender risk taking ability while taking samples from two non-traditional societies, the patrilineal Palawan in the Philippines and the matrilineal Teop in Papua New Guinea. They are also interested in finding culture specific reasons for stereotypes based on gender.

Why compare these two societies?

Both the societies had similar occupational patterns with farming being the primary industry and fishing or animal husbandry being the secondary one. The major difference was that the Teop society is matrilineal in nature, which means that the line of descent goes through the daughter and not the son. This means that women have rights over resources unlike the Palawan society where men had these rights.

How was the experiment conducted?

The sample population is asked to choose from a series of 50/50 gambles. Each of the 5 gambles have a certain payoff and another payoff based on a particular probability. The other payoff keeps increasing in expected payoff and risk as is evident from an increasing standard deviation. Each person is asked to pick a gamble for himself/herself on which they would pay real money. Secondly, each person is asked to guess that which gamble would be chosen by a male and a female member from their particular society. This would help to know the stereotype that is prevalent about the genders’ risk preferences in the particular society. In totality 103 people from the Palawan society and 96 people from the Teop society were asked to do this experiment.

What did the authors infer?

 It was found that, irrespective of the gender criterion, Palawan members were less risk averse than Teop members. While 55% of the Palawan sample chose risky games, only 33% of the Teop sample did so. There were no observable differences in gender risk preferences across both societies. The entire Palawan sample makes higher predictions about the other peoples’ gamble choices than the Teop samples. This result is seen to be true disregarding the gender criterion. Men from Palawan (patrilineal society) underestimate womens’ risk taking ability. On the contrary, men from matrilineal Teop overestimate womens’ risk taking ability. Women from both societies have almost accurate    estimations of risk for the men in the society. Both men and women in both societies predict their own gender’s risk taking ability very accurately. Pondorfer, Barsbai and Schmidt conclude that gender is not a major determinant of risk preferences. On the contrary, ‘nurture’ or the cultural environment in which the people live plays a very important role in the perception of risk taking ability.

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Unblinding Gender for Winning Girls !

Unblinding Gender in Finance for Winning Girls !

Do stereotypes influence our choices? Are Winning Girls aware? 

Answering these questions is particularly important at a young age. Indeed, high school students’ choices today may shape career opportunities tomorrow. Are Winning Girls conscious of how stereotypes may influence their choices?

Why gender stereotypes matter?

Gender stereotypes may blur the process of  information gathering. They may also contribute to self-censoring, preventing young girls to choose careers in finance.  How can female young students become conscious of this?

A workshop to become conscious of stereotypes

The founders of Gender & Finance, Professor François Longin and Professor Estefania Santacreu-Vasut   will soon host a workshop at ESSEC Business School addressed to female high school students with three aims:

  1. guiding them in their future choices
  2. making them aware of existing stereotypes
  3. empowering them in their decision-making processes

Practical information and novelty

  • When? On June 15th 2018
  • Where? In the K-Lab of ESSEC Business School thanks to a simulation from Sim Trade
  • Who? Participants will be composed of a group of female high school students of the Winning Girls Project association created by its president Laurence Moncourrier 
  • Why? Because stereotypes may influence decision-making at an early stage by creating expectations, reinforcing gender norms and influencing career orientation
  • What is new? Traditionally, the “Gender & Finance” workshop has been addressed to graduates and professionals. This will be the first time that high school students participate in our workshops !

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The Global Findex Database by World Bank

The Global Findex Database by World Bank: Data Links for Gender and Finance #2

Studying financial inclusion is important to address gender inequality in the financial realm. This post introduces The Global Findex Database, a database that measures financial inclusion.

What is financial inclusion?
Financial inclusion is the process of making formal financial services accessible and
affordable to all. It involves providing access to bank accounts for deposit and withdrawal of money, along with extension of micro-credit.

Why is it important?
Studies show that financial inclusion is pivotal to many aspects of development around the
world. It is proven to improve people’s earning potential because it leads to a more
systematic usage and saving pattern of money; it also provides the option to poor people to
expand their income by availing credit facilities. There is also a gender aspect to the increase in financial inclusion. Studies have shown improving access to formal financial services improves the wellbeing of female-headed households and increases their savings.

Where can you find data on financial inclusion?
To encourage research in the field, the World Bank has come up with The Global Findex
Database. The Global Findex Databse is a collection and analysis of data conducted by the
World Bank on the borrowing, spending payments and risk management abilities of people. It has been started with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and has been calculated once in 3 years since 2011. It is primarily an indicator to analyse the extent of financial inclusion in the world with focus on the developing economies.

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Do investors like female CEO?

How do investors react when a female CEO is appointed? Does it affect other female-led firms as well? Literature Review Series #4: Dixon Fowler, Ellestrand and Johnson (2013)

We studied the research work of Heather R. Dixon Fowler, Alan E. Ellestrand, Jonathan L. Johnson (SJM 2013) in their paper – “Strength in numbers or guilt by association? Intragroup effects of female Chief Executive Announcements”. The following is a review of the paper followed by some of our own recommendations.

Fowler, Ellestrand et. al.(2013) primarily focus on the impact that the appointment of a female CEO has on the performance of that particular company and on the performance of other companies with female CEOs.

The paper by Dixon Fowler, Ellestrand and Johnson (SJM 2013) aims to examine
three questions:
1) Try to research if firms with existing female CEOs will experience positive stock
market reactions when there is a succession event resulting in the appointment of
a female CEO at another firm. As a follow up to this hypothesis, they also examine if firms with existing female CEOs will experience negative stock market reactions when there is a succession event resulting in the appointment of a female CEO at another firm.

2) Examine if media reports of CEO appointment announcements are more likely to
link female CEOs as an entitative group based on gender compared to male CEO counterparts.

3) Dwell on whether firms with existing female CEOs will experience negative stock
market reactions when there is a succession event resulting in an announcement of
a female CEO dismissal at another firm.

The sample used in their study consists of 369 firms in the portfolio of appointment events
and 90 firms in the portfolio of dismissal events at female-led firms, and 424 in the portfolio of appointment events for male-led firms.

To test hypotheses 1 and 3, they use an event study methodology with the CRSP (1991-2006) equally-weighted index as a proxy for market returns. They conduct a text analysis on the male and female appointments to test hypothesis 2.

Their findings suggest that, firms with existing female CEOs do not experience positive stock market reactions when there is a succession event resulting in the appointment of a female CEO at another firm. To investigate about the follow up hypothesis, they find that firms with existing female CEOs experience negative stock market reactions when there is a succession event resulting in the appointment of a female CEO at another firm. In the analysis of Hypothesis 2 it was found that 55% of female CEO announcements referred to other female CEOs whereas no male CEO announcements referred to other male CEOs. Finally, for the third hypothesis they find that firms with existing female CEOs do not
experience negative stock market reactions when there is a succession event resulting in an announcement of a female CEO dismissal at another firm.

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What is the cause for the Gender Wage Gap? How can it be solved?

What is the cause for the Gender Wage Gap? How can it be solved? Literature Review Series #3: Goldin (2014)

We studied the research work of Goldin (2014) and below is the summary of this literature review.

Goldin (2014) shows that while roles of men and women are converging over time, there is a need to write a ‘last chapter’ in this convergence story. There is a decreasing but existing gender wage gap in the labor market. Goldin (2014) investigates the reasons and variations across major occupations.

Gender Wage Gap across Occupations

The general explanations to the wage gap is that women have a lower bargaining power, will to compete and have higher chances of leaving work for family reasons. However, the author finds that the real problem is that the amount of time worked in a day or week and the amount of time out of the labor force have a direct impact on the earnings. An interesting finding by Goldin (2014) is that though gender wage gap has reduced across all age groups from their previous statuses, the total gender wage gap remains unchanged. The author tries to understand the reason for this.

Goldin (2014) conducts regression analysis on being a woman and being paid in the various sectors- Health, Business, Technology, Science and Other. Across multiple occupations, the Science and Technology exhibit the best results. It appears that this industry offers perks of working part time and provides flexibility in work hours for women with families. The author then formulates an economic hypothesis that an occupation with a linear pay (i.e. where wages are directly related to hours worked) will exhibit lower gender wage gaps. Similarly an occupation with a non-linear pay will exhibit greater gender wage gap. She proves this hypothesis by regression and finds again that Science and Technology exhibit least gender wage gap. Goldin (2014) extends this hypothesis and analyzes this linear or non-linear earnings to time relationship and reasons for the gender wage gap in Business, Law and Pharmaceuticals.

 The Last Chapter

Goldin (2014) concludes that the gender wage gap exists and varies across ages and occupations. This residual gap is because hours worked in continuity are more important in some occupations while not so in others. Flexibility has a penalty in these fields, including in Finance, leading to non-linear earnings for women. The ‘Last Chapter’ thus, must contain a work structure that has a more linear payment, greater flexibility leading to a reduced gender wage gap.

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Presentation on gender and finance


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Financial Literacy Projects for Women

Financial Literacy Projects for Women

Research shows that more than 41 percent of the female population struggle financially. What are organization doing to change this? Financial literacy is the knowledge of how to open an account, how to save better and be more financially independent in general. Are organizations promoting financial literacy for women? We gathered information pertaining to programs all over the world aimed at improving financial literacy for women.

World Wide Projects

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published its findings about Women and Financial Education post the G20 summit in 2012. They have also made several literature reviews and analysed barriers to women’s financial empowerment through lack of financial literacy.

Women’s Institute for Financial Education (WIFE) organization has a Money Club program where women meet regularly to discuss saving, budgeting, expenses, retirement planning and anything financial. Currently there are about 442 Money Clubs with 2,852 members in 46 states of USA and 7 other countries. In addition, WIFE also organizes Second Saturday workshops to impart financial information for newly divorced women.

National Projects


The Financial Literacy Organization for Women and Girls (FLOW) aims to empower women and girls with financial knowledge and skills. FLOW organizes several year round conferences, seminars, workshops and boot camps and has ties to many institutions like Federal Reserve Bank, Morgan Stanley and Credit Union. Their events helps women make responsible decisions about spending, saving, borrowing, and investing for a promising future of economic well-being.

The Financial Women’s Association (FWA) organizes educational workshops for women and also has mentoring and scholarship programs for women since 2001. Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) too has workshops, training and provides materials to educate women of all ages about financial aspects. The Lisa Initiative and the Womanspace has similar programs for financial literacy for women.

Asia and Other Countries

In Hong Kong, The Women’s Foundation has several financial literacy programmes for marginalised women. Launched in 2011. It uses innovative methods of training to communities and through its partnerships, their initiative has seen highly positive results and won many accolades.  In Philippines, the Philippine Commission on Women has published its own Gender and Financial Literacy Training Manual to better train women from all backgrounds about microfinance, financial and risk management.

The Financial Literacy Foundation by the Australian Government has done extensive research on women’s current understanding of money matters. Daughters of Tomorrow (DOT) by Financial Women’s Association, Singapore has specially tailored coursework with case studies for improving financial literacy for women.

Hope these help! Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information or leave comments.

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Corporate Programs for Women and Gender Pay-Gap

Corporate Programs for Women and Gender Pay-Gap


Are corporations promoting programs to improve the status of women employees? Research shows that for every dollar a man makes, a woman makes eighty cents. Is this gender pay gap shrinking? Various companies have started programs aimed at improving gender equality and solving the pay gap. We collected information about such programs and research work to better understand the situation.

Corporate Programs in Finance

Women on the Move Program by JP Morgan Chase, launched in 2013, conducts events to explore and tackle challenges faced by women. Hosting 6000 women employees in 23 cities, this program focuses on closing gender pay gap, encouraging entrepreneurship for women and empowering mothers.

Inclusion & Diversity: Women in Mckinsey holds workshops and events for its women employees, internationally. McKinsey Global Institute has conducted ground breaking research on how gender parity can affect GDP and generate $12 trillion. Mckinsey’s Women in the Workplace research, in collaboration with Leanin, has found key facts and figures indicating gender inequality at work, including underrepresentation of women in vice-president and c-suite level roles.

Other Corporate Programs

Getting to Equal 2017 is a study and program by Accenture with the objective to close the gender pay gap. Accenture believes encouraging women to earn a STEM degree will accelerate their career and pay by 2030.

Adobe is committed to achieve perfect gender pay parity by end of this fiscal year. In addition to organizing a Women’s Summit, Adobe is also working on improving internal hiring practices, changing unconscious biases and a digital academy to encourage women coders.

Government Programs & Research

Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Australian Government (WGEA) has developed a gender strategy toolkit for corporates. It includes roadmaps, scorecards, pay equity and change management strategies for companies to adopt and improve the status quo for its women employees. On achieving its goals, Australian corporates are encouraged to get cited as “Employer of Choice for Gender Equality” by WGEA.

Institute for Women’s Policy Research states that gender pay gap will not be solved for at least another 43 years. While it encourages women to enter STEM field of studies, it has also made specific findings that in the finance industry, female advisors comprise merely 54% of the male advisers.

Hope these are useful! Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information or leave comments.

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Microfinance and Entrepreneurship Projects for Women

Microfinance and Entrepreneurship Projects for Women

Are organizations helping women from challenging backgrounds to grow financially? We gathered information pertaining to programs all over the world aimed at improving financial access for women. Microfinance is one such banking tool used to issue loans for low-income individuals. It was first started in 1983 by the Yunus Foundation in Bangladesh that organized Grameen Banks to provide Microfinance. This financial model was greatly successful. The funds from microfinance are generally aimed at financing start-up opportunities, education, insurance and investments.  Here are some programs that provide access to finance for women.

World Wide Projects

The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) is a Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) of the World Bank. Launched in October 2017 at the G20 Summit, the program has already raised $340 million. It aims to fill the existing $300 billion annual credit gap for women.

Similarly, International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank group has gender programs, some specifically to promote entrepreneurship for women and improving their access to credit. IFC’s Banking on Women Program raised $1.35 billion in 34 countries in 2010. In 2014, IFC joined with Goldman Sachs “10,000 Women” program to launch Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility. This program raised $600 million and expects to fund 100,000 women-owned SMEs through its financial partners.

Women’s World Banking (WWB) is another such organization that works towards financial development for women. It works with 49 financial institutions in 32 countries for the financial inclusion of 1.1 billion women. WWB conducts extensive research, develops Gender Performance Indicator and designed loans, savings accounts and micro-insurance as per its Annual Report 2016

Gender, Equality, Diversity Branch of International Labor Office (ILO GED) has various international projects for gender equality, including for microfinance. The Social Finance Programme (SFP) in cooperation with the Gates Foundation is ILO’s major microfinance project. The WEDGE team, part of ILO’s Small Enterprise (SEED) programme, also works to enhance economic opportunities for women by developing tools and strategies specifically for entrepreneurship.

National Projects

Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) started a Dabi loan project for women in villages of Bangladesh. Today it has 3.4 billion borrowers connected by 300000 village organizations and also has independent operations in countries such as Myanmar, Pakistan, Uganda, Tanzania, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Similarly, microfinancing greatly helped growth in Tunisia. This IFC project in collaboration with Tunisian microfinance institution Enda Inter-Arabe in 2012 was greatly successful.

Pro Mujer targets improving financial stability across Latin America since 1990. In its Report of 2015, Pro Mujer provided loans worth $660 million serving 250000 female entrepreneurs.

Hope these help! Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information or leave comments.

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