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Boards of directors are intellectually interesting; the literature on boards has academic impact, and there is substantial scope for this literature to have policy impact.

I illustrate these points by combining a select review of the literature with evidence from a variety of data sets. Boards are difficult to study—which makes them intellectually interesting. Papers on boards are cited 52.2% more per year since publication than other finance papers (controlling for year of publication and the number of papers published in the same year)—which makes them impactful. Boards are the focus of a substantial amount of policy-making—which means there is scope for the board literature to have policy impact.

Although the literature on boards has grown substantially in recent years, I highlight that many topics for future research remain. Most importantly, I argue that to understand boards we need to understand the people who sit on them.

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