This study examines how the composition of the board of directors at Chinese firms affects crash risk. The results indicate that co-opted directors (i.e., directors appointed after the CEO assumed office) have a positive and significant effect on crash risk; the positive relation between board directors and crash risk is primarily driven by co-opted male directors, implying a gender difference on crash risk. Non-co-opted independent directors mitigate crash risk, but the negative relation between gender and crash risk is much stronger for female directors than for male directors. The results indicate that co-option/non-co-opted independence along with gender diversity on the board plays an important role in shaping crash risk behaviors. The director-crash risk linkage disappears at state-owned enterprises, suggesting that ownership structure affects board behaviors and board members play the role of rubber-stamp. Finally, the relation between gender and crash risk is more pronounced at crash-risk prone firms with high earnings management and high financial leverage.
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting 55, p.461–500