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Are U.S. CEOs Paid More? New International Evidence

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  • Nuno Fernandes
  • Miguel A. Ferreira
  • Pedro Matos
  • Kevin J. Murphy

Abstract

This paper challenges the widely accepted stylized fact that chief executive officers (CEOs) in the United States are paid significantly more than their foreign counterparts. Using CEO pay data across fourteen countries with mandated pay disclosures, we show that the U.S. pay premium is economically modest and primarily reflects the performance-based pay demanded by institutional shareholders and independent boards. Indeed, we find no significant difference in either level of CEO pay or the use of equity-based pay between U.S. and non-U.S. firms exposed to international and U.S. capital, product, and labor markets. We also show that U.S. and non-U.S. CEO pay has largely converged in the 2000s. The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com., Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Nuno Fernandes & Miguel A. Ferreira & Pedro Matos & Kevin J. Murphy, 2013. "Are U.S. CEOs Paid More? New International Evidence," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(2), pages 323-367.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:26:y:2013:i:2:p:323-367
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/rfs/hhs122
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