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Journal Article

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The Review of Higher Education





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Annual salary increases for college and university faculty generally take the form of a percentage increase over base, rather than an actual dollar award. These percentage increases are typically determined without regard to the base dollar salary (Hearn, 1999). As a result, early advantages in salaries persist over time, even when the performance of lower-paid faculty is superior (Hearn, 1999). As Hearn (1999) has noted, sex differences in starting salaries are particularly problematic because of this annuity feature of faculty salaries. Specifically, initial inequities in the salaries of women and men faculty are very difficult to resolve through the annual process of awarding merit or across-the-board salary increases.

Prior research has consistently shown that female faculty receive lower salaries than their male counterparts even after controlling for differences in such characteristics as education, experience, productivity, institutional characteristics, and academic discipline (Barbezat, 1988; Bellas, 1993; Broder, 1993; Konrad & Pfeffer, 1990; Langton & Pfeffer, 1994; Nettles, Perna, & Bradburn, 2000; Toutkoushian, 1998a, 1998b; Weiler, 1990). Some research (Toutkoushian, 1998b) suggests that, after controlling for education, experience, publications, institutional characteristics, and academic field, the male-female salary gap is smaller among full-time faculty age 40 and under than among their older counterparts.

The results of research specifically examining the extent to which sex differences in faculty salaries are attributable to differences in starting salaries are inconclusive, with Hirsch and Leppel (1982), who conducted a single-institution study, concluding that differences in male and female earnings profiles were primarily due to differences in starting salaries, and Formby, Gunther, and Sakano (1993), who controlled for characteristics of the employing department and other characteristics, concluding that the starting salaries of women and men faculty were comparable. This study seeks to improve our understanding of sex differences in faculty salaries by examining differences among faculty with the same academic rank and comparable levels of experience.

Copyright/Permission Statement

Copyright © 2001 Association for the Study of Higher Education. This article first appeared in The Review of Higher Education Volume 24: No. 3 (2001), pp. 283-307. Reprinted with permission by Johns Hopkins University Press.



Date Posted: 25 May 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.