Measuring and calibrating the racial/ethnic densities of executives in US publicly traded companies

50 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2021

See all articles by Jeremiah Green

Jeremiah Green

Texas A&M University - Department of Accounting

John R. M. Hand

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School

Date Written: March 4, 2021

Abstract

We measure the racial/ethnic densities (RAEDs) of executives in a random sample of 523 US publicly traded companies and the S&P 500®. When we calibrate the RAEDs of executives as a whole against the RAEDs of the 2019 US population, we find that American Indians/Alaska Natives, Blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented and Whites are overrepresented. However, when we calibrate executive RAEDs against a benchmark that seeks to take into account key features of the demand for and supply of proto-executive talent, namely the RAEDs of the cohorts of students graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the broad New York Times 2017 list of the top 100 US four-year colleges and universities, matched to executives’ BA/BS graduation years, mostly different and at times opposite findings obtain. For example, for executives as a whole in S&P 500® firms, Blacks and Hispanics are overdense relative to their top-bachelor’s-qualified benchmark RAEDs while Whites are underdense. For CEOs in S&P 500® firms, Blacks are underdense while Asians/Pacific Islanders, Hispanics and Whites are at their top-bachelor’s-qualified benchmark expected densities. We conclude that because the sign and magnitude of a deviation from a racial/ethnic benchmark can influence the inferences that are made and policies that are proposed with regard to the presence and/or magnitude of racial bias or discrimination, the choice of benchmark against which executive RAEDs are calibrated is an overlooked but highly important one.

Keywords: Executives, race, ethnicity, representation, density, calibratio

JEL Classification: A13, J01, J15, J29, M12

Suggested Citation

Green, Jeremiah and Hand, John R. M., Measuring and calibrating the racial/ethnic densities of executives in US publicly traded companies (March 4, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3797715 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3797715

Jeremiah Green

Texas A&M University - Department of Accounting ( email )

430 Wehner
College Station, TX 77843-4353
United States

John R. M. Hand (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School ( email )

McColl Building
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States
919-962-3173 (Phone)
919-962-4727 (Fax)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
30
Abstract Views
539
PlumX Metrics