Study Finds CEOs May Be Shaped By Daughters

Do we men who have daughters behave differently from men who do not have daughters? While we might all agree that parents can shape and influence their children’s behaviors, there is research that shows that the opposite can also be true: children can shape their parents.

According to a new study that will appear in the Journal of Financial Economics, a top scholarly journal in finance, large U.S. firms (the study sample is S&P 500 firms during 1992-2012) that have CEOs with daughters have a corporate social responsibility (CSR) rating that is almost 10% higher than other large U.S. firms. How does this come to be? The explanation is rather straightforward. Given that research shows females are more inclined to care about others than males, and given that research shows parents tend to internalize the preferences of their children, it is therefore possible that parents with daughters will exhibit stronger altruistic preferences than parents without daughters. As such, the study’s authors posit that CEOs with daughters will care more about the community, the environment, human rights, etc., than other CEOs, and that these altruistic inclinations will be revealed through their firms having higher CSR engagements and activities. They find compelling and robust empirical evidence to support their prediction. The effect is even stronger when the CEO’s first child is a daughter, when the CEO has more than one daughter, and when the CEO is male.

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