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Is your surname remunerative? Surname favorability and CEO compensation

Jung, J. H. ORCID: 0000-0002-1993-9419, Lim, S. S. & Park, J. (2023). Is your surname remunerative? Surname favorability and CEO compensation. Journal of Corporate Finance, 83, article number 102474. doi: 10.1016/j.jcorpfin.2023.102474


We find that CEOs with more favorable surnames receive significantly higher compensation. The estimated effect of surname favorability is unique and incremental to the documented effects of various firm, board, and CEO characteristics. CEOs with French or German surnames receive significantly lower compensation after the French and German governments' opposition to the Iraq war. Surname favorability is not associated with corporate investments, disclosure policies, or firm performances. The results are more pronounced for professional (i.e., non-founder) or short-tenured CEOs and for firms with lower institutional ownership. Surname favorability reduces the likelihood of forced CEO turnover following poor stock performance but is not associated with a CEO's self-serving behaviors. Our results suggest that the effect of surname favorability is attributable to inefficient contracting by the board of directors. Our findings have implications for corporate stakeholders who have committed to the efficient contracting of CEO compensations.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Publisher Keywords: CEO compensation, Surname favorability, Board of directors
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: Bayes Business School > Finance
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Jung Lim Park_2023 JCF.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible until 15 March 2025 due to copyright restrictions.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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