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Study: Women caused the financial crisis (seriously)

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A new study - by three men - suggests that all you evil incompetent women were to blame for the financial crisis.

Mark Gongloff at HuffPost:

After studying the track records of German bank executives from 1994-2010, the three dudes who wrote the paper found that "board changes that result in a higher proportion of female executives...lead to a more risky conduct of business."

In fact, the authors go so far as to suggest that having too many women around (and/or too many young executives and/or too few executives with PhDs) could lead to another financial crisis:
This is particularly important against the background of the recent financial crisis. In fact, anecdotal and emerging empirical evidence suggests that poor governance arrangements in banking have far-reaching consequences for society. ...
While numerous explanations have been invoked for why banks take excessive risk, e.g., executive pay, moral hazard arising from deposit insurance and too-important-to-fail considerations, our research adds a new dimension to this literature by enhancing the understanding of how socioeconomic factors affect collective decision making about risky project choices in corporate finance in general.
Right, because there are so many women running Wall Street, and Washington.  If only we could get some more men in those jobs...

Not surprisingly, the Financial Times' Lisa Pollack found a few holes in the "study."
Further on in Atkins’ article:
Explaining their controversial findings, based on an analysis of German bank executive teams from 1994 to 2010, the report’s authors suggest a main reason is that women executives tend to be “significantly less experienced” than male counterparts and that a lack of experience drives risk taking.
Wait a second… This study didn’t control for levels of experience?! Do we hear a whistle? Oh yes, there it is.

If the study had controlled for the amount of experience that executives had, and yet still found that the presence of women was correlated with increasingly risky behaviour by banks, then we’d get a bit more intrigued about the “it’s because of their gender” conclusion. But there wasn’t such a control in place and that’s quite an variable to omit.

To be clear, it’s not an outright lack of “experience” that the researchers refer to. It’s “executive level” experience.
And let's not forget that had the boys in the Obama administration listened to the girls (or girl) we might not be in the unemployment mess we're in right now. From Sam Stein at HuffPost:
But a new book by Noam Scheiber of The New Republic, "The Escape Artists," sheds new light on the matter.

As Scheiber writes, members of the president's economic team felt that if they were to properly fill the hole caused by the recession, they would need a bill that priced at $1.8 trillion -- $600 billion more than was previously believed to be the high-water mark for the White House.

The $1.8 trillion figure was included in a December 2008 memo authored by Christina Romer (the incoming head of the Council of Economic Advisers) and obtained by Scheiber in the course of researching his book.

"When Romer showed [Larry] Summers her $1.8 trillion figure late in the week before the memo was due, he dismissed it as impractical."
Yes, it was "impractical" to recommend what the economy actually needed to fully save it from another Great Depression, so no one even tried.

No one is saying that politics doesn't involve some practicality.  You don't go asking for the moon simply because you think it's right, to hell with the politics.  But.  If you really think we need $1.8 trillion to save the country from economic collapse, you don't ask for less simply because the Republicans - who just lost an election by a massive amount, and were subsequently left at their weakest in over a decade - might be mean to you.  There is that crazy alternative of trying to use a wildly popular new President, with a huge electoral mandate against an opposition in tatters, to convince the terrified American people, and through them their elected representatives, that this is the only thing that might save us from economic ruin.

It's not like it was a crazy idea that something like that might just work.  But the boys in the administration, and a few lead male voices in the partisan media, said it simply couldn't be done.

The Obama administration needed some serious cojones in its first two years.  And it looks like the guy with the biggest just might have been a gal.

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