Yang is a new entry this year
Ya-wen Yang, Coca Cola fellow and associate professor of
accounting at Wake Forest University (WFU), flies the flag for
academic entrants in the Global Tax 50 2015, along with the
UK-based Rita de la Feria and Judith Freedman.
In February 2015, Yang produced a report (co-authored with
Andrea Kelton, also from the WFU School of Business and Allison
Evans, from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington) which
shed new light on the relationships between gender diversity in
the boardroom and c-suite and levels of abusive tax
The headline findings were that women CFOs in the study were
less likely to evade taxes than their male counterparts and
that having a 'critical mass' of women making up at least 30%
of the board allows a company to reap the benefits of gender
"Studies have found that men and women make ethical
decisions differently and that, overall, women are more ethical
and less likely to take risks than men," says Yang.
"We find that at least one female director is necessary if
the CFO is also female, thus documenting the importance of
women in both executive (CFO) and corporate governance (the
board) positions," Yang tells ITR. "Our finding is
consistent with research on tokenism and that minority opinions
are often ignored."
"We believe this research highlights the need to consider
gender diversity across both governance and executive positions
and should be of interest to those making hiring decisions and
director appointments," she adds.
With company tax affairs being thrust into the spotlight
like never before over the past few years, much research has
been conducted on the interconnectedness of corporate tax and
corporate social responsibility (CSR) in today's world of
increasing transparency, but Yang's report brought a fresh
viewpoint into focus as part of this discussion.
The paper is now under revision for the second round review
at an academic journal, and Yang intends to continue exploring
this line of enquiry.
"I am pleased to have the research finding disseminated in
your publication," says Yang. "In terms of the direction of
future research, I plan to continue exploring the role of board
diversity attributes, including demographic attributes such as
gender, race and age, and functional attributes –
things like experience, expertise, tenure and so on –
in corporate decisions and behaviour."