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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Asian-American Executive Compensation in the Fortune 500


I study executive compensation in a sample of Fortune 500 executives, to determine whether Asian American executives were compensated less than their peers in 2019. The regression model controlled for two measures of company size (total revenues and number of employees), stock price performance and industry fixed effects; at a 95% level, I find a statistically insignificant salary gap between Asians as a group and non-Asian executives. For East Asian executives, however, I find a large and statistically significant log salary gap relative to non-Asians of over 50 percent (53.6 log points). This indicates that, in 2019, East Asian top executives in the Fortune 500 were paid substantially less than non-Asians who were managing companies of similar size and profitability in the same industry. A larger sample would be needed to improve the precision of the estimates.

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