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Men and women in managerial leadership positions: the case of football

Department of Economics

Reading United Kingdom Data Analysis Gender Studies History Other Other Statistics

About the Project

There is a large body of evidence on barriers to leadership positions faced by women, and a related literature on the relative benefits of the presence of women managers in firms. These range from innovation (IMF, 2016), to firm performance and pay gaps: Flabbi et al (EJ 2019) for example use panel methods and a matched employer-employee data set and find that performance in firms with female leadership increases with the share of female workers, which they interpret as a better ability of female leaders to read signals from workers of the same gender. There is however also evidence from other papers pointing to backlash from male workers who dislike being managed by a woman (Brescoll et al, 2018). To investigate these mechanisms De Paola et al (IZA, 2018) conduct a field experiment with students and find a positive and significant effect of female leadership on team performance which is driven by the higher performance of team members in female led teams but that in spite of this male members tend to evaluate female leaders as less effective, whereas female members are more sympathetic towards them. Football presents a unique opportunity to study these mechanisms in more detail as teams are by definition completely segregated by gender and therefore the manager men and women ought to equally compete for managerial roles, and be evaluated on the same criteria. The disparity between women managing in mens football, and men managing in womens football suggests a different reality. What can be learnt about the dynamics surrounding the sackings and quits in womens football, relative to those in mens football, from historical data on results, boards of directors, and officials? Football has extremes of all men, all women teams. Are things symmetric? 

Funding Notes

Self - funded students only

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