The Effect of Merit- and Equity-Based Salary Adjustments on Male and Female Faculty Salaries

Date of Graduation

Summer 2007


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Jeanne Phelps


The purpose of this thesis was to examine the effect of two merit- and equity-based discretionary salary adjustments on gender differences in faculty salaries at Missouri State University (MSU). Although significant salary differences do exist on average at the University level between male and female faculty, no University-sponsored study has been conducted which documents gender inequity at MSU; however, the American Association of University Professors has estimated that, nationally, six to eight percent of existing salary gaps cannot be explained by factors that normally account for salary differences between genders. Salary information for ranked faculty members (n= 517) was obtained for fiscal years 2006 and 2007, which encompassed the two salary adjustments. Decision-makers received no directive to focus specifically on gender equity in making the discretionary adjustments. Results of a series of analyses of variance revealed that gender was not an important factor in determining salary adjustments. The results of this study suggest that conscious and specific attention to unexplained gender gaps in salary will be required if equity is to be achieved. Differences between average male and female salaries were greater in some colleges than in others, and analyzing data at the college rather than University level was recommended. Study limitations and suggestions for further research were addressed.


gender gap, salary equity, discretionary adjustments, faculty salaries, merit raises, equity raises

Subject Categories



© Meghan R. Lowery