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What makes a CEO? Our study combines a near-exhaustive sample of CEOs of Swedish companies with data on their cognitive and non-cognitive ability and height at age 18. On average, CEOs, particularly large-company CEOs, have much higher trait values than the population and somewhat higher values than people in other high-skill professions. Yet, more than one hundred managers and executives in the corporate sector dominate each median largecompany CEO. Only about one tenth of the pay premium large-firm CEOs enjoy over the population can be attributed to the labor market returns to the three traits.

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