The pay difference between 'superstar CEOs' and CEOs of 'superstar' companies

"Superstar" CEOs can earn an average of $7.8 million more than their peers in annual pay, according to research reported by the Harvard Business Review. But CEOs of prestigious firms could be taking home significantly less. 

An empirical analysis published in the Journal of Financial Economics found that firm prestige has a negative influence on CEO compensation.

For the analysis, researchers identified prestigious companies as those that ranked in the top 100 of Fortune's annual "America's Most Admired Companies" list between 1992 and 2010. They compared CEO compensation data from those firms to CEO pay at the 900 other largest U.S. companies via salary information from ExecuComp, a data set on top executive compensation for the firms included in the S&P 1500, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Researchers found that CEOs of firms included in Fortune's annual "America's Most Admired Companies" list between 1992 and 2010 made an average of 8 percent less each year than CEOs of companies that were not ranked. This comes out to about $500,000 less for the average CEO of a top-ranked company, according to the Harvard Business Review.

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