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CEO pulchronomics and appearance discrimination

Jung Yeun (June) Kim (School of Business, Rutgers University Camden, Camden, New Jersey, USA)
Linna Shi (Carl H. Lindner College of Business, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA)
Nan Zhou (Carl H. Lindner College of Business, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA)

Asian Review of Accounting

ISSN: 1321-7348

Article publication date: 10 August 2021

Issue publication date: 13 August 2021




Pulchronomics studies the economics of beauty. The purpose of this paper is to research CEO pulchronomics by examining whether a beauty premium exists in CEO compensation and whether this beauty premium is justified by differences in CEO performance.


The authors calculate a facial attractiveness scores (FAS) based on facial symmetry, facial structure and the golden ratio. The authors then perform OLS regressions to examine the effect of CEO beauty on CEO compensation and firm performances.


The authors find that base salaries for attractive CEOs are higher than those for unattractive CEOs, but incentive pays for attractive CEOs are not different from those for unattractive CEOs. The latter is likely due to the fact that attractive CEOs do not outperform unattractive CEOs in operations, innovation, corporate social responsibility and financial reporting quality.


Since the CEO beauty premium is not supported by the superior performance of attractive CEOs, this paper provides new evidence of appearance discrimination in CEO compensation.



The authors thank helpful comments from Haiyan Zhou (editor), an anonymous reviewer, Andrea Pawliczek, Francis Yammarino, and workshop participants at Bowling Green State University, Hofstra University, Ithaca College, Oakland University, Rowan University, Rutgers University at Camden, Saint Joseph University, San Francisco State University, SUNY at Binghamton, University of Cincinnati, University of Nevada at Reno, the 2016 American Accounting Association (AAA) Northeast Region Meeting in Boston, and the 2017 AAA Annual Meeting in San Diego.


Kim, J.Y.(J)., Shi, L. and Zhou, N. (2021), "CEO pulchronomics and appearance discrimination", Asian Review of Accounting, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 443-473.



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