Same or Different? The CEO Labour Market in China's Public Listed Companies


  • We thank the ESRC (grant RES-538-25-0029) and NSFC (grant 71161130175) for funding. We also thank participants at workshops at Brunel, London School of Economics and Political Science, and Zhejiang University, along with an anonymous reviewer, for useful comments.
  • Correction Note: This article was first published online on the 24th of February 2014, under a subscription publication licence. The article has since been made OnlineOpen, and the copyright line and licence statement was therefore updated in September 2014.


Using linked employer–employee data for all China's public listed firms over the period 2001–10, we find top executive compensation exhibits many of the traits familiar in the Western literature, although sometimes in a more muted way, and with some clear exceptions. We also find a role for managerial power in executive pay setting which may reflect the recency of the stock market and regulations underpinning corporate governance. Nevertheless, there appear to be some elements of executive compensation which transcend national economic, political and cultural differences. The implication is that the Western model is not as idiosyncratic as critics suggest.