Working Paper Series
Are CEOs Born Leaders? Lessons from Traits of a Million Individuals
() and Samuli Knüpfer
Abstract: Our study combines a near-exhaustive sample of CEOs of
Swedish companies with data on their cognitive and non-cognitive ability
and height at age 18. Although CEOs, and large-company CEOs in particular,
have better traits than the population on average, they are neither
exceptional in any of the traits nor their combination. Large-company CEOs
belong to the top 5% of the population in their traits, but to top 0.2% in
pay. The mismatch between the moderately high trait values and the
exceptionally high pay explains why less than a quarter of the CEO pay
premium over the population can be attributed to the traits.
Keywords: CEO; Cognitive ability; Non-cognitive ability; Height; Compensation; Firm size; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: G30; J24; J31; (follow links to similar papers)
56 pages, June 3, 2014, Revised April 16, 2015
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