Does Fatherhood Make CEOs Less Generous?

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A new study in Administrative Science Quarterly finds that when male CEOs have children, their employees can be negatively affected by receiving lower wages. The authors explain that fatherhood can alter an executive’s value system and, thus, his managerial style–and the plot thickets where gender is involved:

We find that (a) a male CEO generally pays his employees less generously after fathering a child, (b) the birth of a daughter has a less negative influence on wages than does the birth of a son and has a positive influence if the daughter is the CEO’s first, and (c) the wages of female employees are less adversely affected than are those of male employees and positively affected by the CEO’s first child of either gender. We also find that male CEOs pay themselves more after fathering a child, especially after fathering a son. These results are consistent with a desire by the CEO to husband more resources for his family after fathering a child and the psychological priming of the CEO’s generosity after the birth of his first daughter and specifically toward women after the birth of his first child of either gender.

Read the article, “Fatherhood and Managerial Style: How a Male CEO’s Children Affect the Wages of His Employees” by Michael S. Dahl of Aalborg University, Cristian L. Dezso of the University of Maryland, and David Gaddis Ross of Columbia Business School, published in the OnlineFirst section of Administrative Science Quarterly.

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