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ethics, corporate social responsibility, CEO compensation, gender
Concern about the gender gap in employee compensation is an important social and business issue. Effective corporate social responsibility requires fair treatment of all employees, regardless of gender. Using a sample of firms that have been noted for their ethical behavior, this study examines whether ethical firms compensate female CEOs comparably to male CEOs. Our sample of ethical firms includes companies listed as one of the “100 Best Corporate Citizens” by Corporate Responsibility (formerly Business Ethics) magazine and with data available in Compustat, CRSP, and ExecuComp for fiscal years 1998-2009. We hypothesize that ethical firms, relative to non-list firms, close (or at least narrow) the gender gap in CEO compensation. Our findings indicate that female CEOs of ethical companies are not penalized for their gender (that is, they do not earn less than their male counterparts).
Journal of Accounting, Ethics and Public Policy