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Athletes in boardrooms: Evidence from the world

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-183
Number of pages48
JournalJournal of International Financial Markets, Institutions & Money
Early online date21 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2019


This study examines the relation between the athletic experience of board directors and corporate outcomes. We predict that athletes’ attributes, such as physical fitness, mental resilience, leadership, and team-working skills, enhance their monitoring role. Using a large sample from 71 countries, we find that athletic experience is associated with better firm performance. The benefits are more pronounced when the experience is of team sports and confrontational sports, and for firms experiencing financial crisis. The results remain consistent when we instrument the athletic experience of directors with the number of Olympic medals won and Olympic sports participated in by the country in question at the previous Olympic Games.

    Research areas

  • athlete, corporate board, director, firm performance, sports

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