Is there a gender gap in CEO compensation?

Elsevier BV, North-Holland
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Corporate Finance, 2012, 18 (4), pp. 849 - 859
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The gender pay gap generates significant political and social debate. This study contributes to this discussion by examining if a gender pay gap exists at the highest level of corporate management, the CEOs. While previous studies have documented a gender pay gap for most levels of executives the findings with respect to CEOs are conflicting. In this paper we focus only on CEO's as it is the most homogenous of executive roles and does not require us to assume that executives with similar titles undertake identical roles. Our evidence is based on 291 US firm-years for the period of 1998-2010. We do not find any association between CEO pay and gender using both the total sample and a sample matched using propensity scores to control for firm characteristics. These insignificant results hold for total pay, salary and bonuses, and for different matching procedures and econometric specifications. Our results therefore indicate that women who rise through the "glass ceiling" to the level of CEO are remunerated at similar levels to their male counterparts.
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