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Executive compensation of immigrant-founder firms in the USA

Chialing Hsieh (Accounting, Finance, and Business Law, The University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler, Texas, USA)
Vivek Pandey (The University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler, Texas, USA)
Hongxia Wang (Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina, USA)

International Journal of Managerial Finance

ISSN: 1743-9132

Article publication date: 22 March 2019

Issue publication date: 31 July 2019




The purpose of this paper is to examine CEO compensation in immigrant-founder firms vs CEO compensation in non-immigrant-founder firms.


Univariate and multi-variate tests are implemented. CEO compensation is designed as a function of the origin of a firm’s founder (immigrant or native), executive characteristics and firm characteristics with firm and year fixed effect regressions. CEO compensation is measured with cash pay, equity-based pay and total compensation.


CEOs of immigrant-founder firms receive higher equity-based compensation and higher total pay than CEOs of non-immigrant-founder firms and the levels of their equity-based and total compensation are contingent upon their stock ownership. CEOs in high-growth immigrant-founder firms receive higher stock-based pay than their counterparts in non-immigrant-founder firms. Immigrant-founder family firms compensate their CEOs with higher equity-based pay than immigrant-founder non-family firms.

Practical implications

The paper provides some explanations on the success of immigrant-founder firms. CEO compensation designs in immigrant-founder firms can be adopted in other firms.

Social implications

The paper provides some rationale for immigration legislation to encourage the talented to come to the USA and start their business in the USA.


This paper is the first to study executive compensation practice in immigrant-founder firms. The findings provide some practical and policy implications on immigration reform.



Hsieh, C., Pandey, V. and Wang, H. (2019), "Executive compensation of immigrant-founder firms in the USA", International Journal of Managerial Finance, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 546-563.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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