Graham, Harvey, and Puri (2016)

Graham, John R., Campbell R. Harvey, and Manju Puri.  “A Corporate Beauty Contest.”  Management Science, July 19, 2016.

From the authors' abstract:  "We provide new evidence that the subjective 'look of competence' rather than beauty is important for CEO selection and compensation. Our experiments, studying the facial traits of CEOs using nearly 2,000 subjects, link facial characteristics to both CEO compensation and performance...  We find competent looks are priced into CGEO compensation, more so than attractiveness. Our evidence suggests this premium has a behavioral origin. First, we find no evidence that the premium is associated with superior performance. Second, we separately analyze inside and outside CEO hires and find that the competence compensation premium is driven by outside hires—the situation where first impressions are likely to be more important."