Wage disparity: a comparison of residual differences in predicted and actual faculty wages by gender at Iowa State University
Mack C. Shelley
This research project outlines the rigorous and detailed methods used in conducting a gender-related salary equity study. Specifically, this study looks into the question of whether salaries received by female faculty members are significantly different from the salaries received by Caucasian-male faculty members. In this study, data for five academic years are analyzed to judge whether salary levels for female and Caucasian-male faculty members within selected disciplines, departments, and/or colleges at a major land-grant academic institution are impartial across gender after controlling and/or accounting for variations in individual faculty characteristics.;After assembling the data, the author uses a five-step analytical model to ascertain whether gender-related wage disparities exist at the institution: (1) Select independent clusters of faculty members for comparison. (2) Generate autonomous salary regression equations for each faculty cluster chosen. (3) Compute the predicted wage for each faculty member in the independent clusters. (4) Compute the salary residuals (i.e., subtract the predicted annual wage from the adjusted wage) for faculty members of each cluster. (5) Compare the salary residuals of the Caucasian-male faculty members to the salary residuals of the female faculty members in each of the selected clusters. For the five-year study, 95 faculty cluster comparisons were performed using the five-step process.;Initial results of comparing the salary residual means of female faculty members with Caucasian-male faculty members in the 95 independent comparison clusters exposed five significant (alpha ≤ .05) cases of gender-related wage disparity and ten noticeable (.05 ≤ alpha ≤ .15) cases of gender-related wage disparity at the university.;Final computations, measuring for the magnitude of gender-bias in the wage compensation system, revealed that the wage dispensing practices at the university favored female faculty members in four of the five years studied. These apparent findings are tempered with the suggestion that sporadic factors could have caused the study results to be misleading or inaccurate. In closing, nine melded statements are presented to provide advice and direction to those working and doing research in the field of higher education.