59 Pages Posted: 15 May 2014 Last revised: 2 Sep 2016
Date Written: September 1, 2016
What makes a CEO? 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. On average, CEOs, particularly large-company CEOs, have much higher trait values than the population and somewhat higher values than people in other high-skill professions. Yet, more than one hundred managers and executives in the corporate sector dominate each median large-company CEO. Only about one tenth of the pay premium large-firm CEOs enjoy over the population can be attributed to the labor market returns to the three traits.
Keywords: CEO, cognitive ability, non-cognitive ability, height, compensation, firm size
JEL Classification: G30, J24, J31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Adams, Renee B. and Keloharju, Matti and Knüpfer, Samuli, Are CEOs Born Leaders? Lessons from Traits of a Million Individuals (September 1, 2016). IFN Working Paper No. 1024; FIRN Research Paper No. 2436765; Harvard Business School Research Paper No. 16-044; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) - Finance Working Paper No. 478/2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2436765