Are U.S. CEOs paid more? New international evidence

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

165 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-367
Number of pages45
JournalReview Of Financial Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013


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