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Working papers

Gender board quotas have emerged as a policy of choice to tackle workplace gender inequalities in many countries. Introduced in 2010, the French quota mandates a 40% female representation on the boards of both publicly listed and large private companies by 2017.  To assess its impact, we first construct and analyze a dataset on the board composition of all French firms from 2008 to 2021. Over this period, the average share of female board members increased from 11% to 42% for targeted listed firms, but only from 14% to 30% among targeted non-listed firms. Given the partial compliance observed, we use difference-in-differences and IV strategies using the firms listed in 2009 as a treatment group. We show that a higher female board share leads to a greater likelihood of appointing a female CEO and increases the share of women among top executives and top earners. It also leads to a significant reduction in gender wage gaps at all levels of the firm's hierarchy. These improvements in gender equality outcomes are achieved mainly through external hires for top positions, while wage gap reductions benefit both new hires and incumbent employees. Our analysis further identifies factors contributing to the policy's effectiveness. Post-quota female appointees are found to be more qualified than their pre-quota counterparts and gain access to key board committees. As the share of women on the board increases, it also becomes more likely that CEO compensation is linked to gender equity goals. These results underscore that gender quotas can help advance gender equality in the workplace.

We propose a new strategy to identify the impact of class rank, exploiting a “visible” primary school rank from teachers’ exam grades, and an “invisible” rank from unreported standardized test scores. Leveraging a unique panel dataset on Italian students, we show that the visible rank has a substantial impact on students’ perceptions, which affects subsequent academic performance. However, the effect of being surrounded by higher-SES or higher-achieving peers remains positive even accounting for the decrease in rank. Higher-ranked students self-select into high schools with higher average student achievements. Finally, exploiting an extensive survey, we identify psychological mechanisms channeling the rank effect.

Work in Progress

“Take-up of Parental Leave Policies: The Role of Workplace Culture” (with Louise Paul-Delvaux)

Paid Family Leave (PFL) policies are designed to support new parents as they navigate the often conflicting demands of work and family responsibilities. Beyond federal and state mandates, firms are also actively expanding parental leave benefits as a strategy to attract and retain talent. A first-order question when considering PFL is whether workers actually use them and, if so,  what their downstream impacts are on both employees and employers.  In this project, we leverage confidential HR data from a major French multinational corporation and analyze changes in both government and the firm's PFL policies. 

“Family Firms in France” (with Carola Frydman)

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