IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The Legitimacy of Pay and Performance Comparisons: An Analysis of UK University Vice Chancellors Pay Awards

Listed author(s):
  • Heather Tarbert
  • Kaihong Tee
  • Robert Watson
Registered author(s):

    This article examines UK University Vice Chancellors (VC) pay awards. The empirical analysis, covering the period 1997-2002, evaluates the impact upon VC pay awards of university performance measures, internal pay comparisons and two external pay comparisons, that is, the pay of other VCs and the pay of chief executive officers (CEOs) leading comparable-sized UK firms. For the total sample, we find no evidence that VC pay awards are related to any of the performance measures, although for the pre- and post-1992 subsamples there is some evidence that pay awards are related to some 'mission-relevant' performance measures. All the analyses show a positive relationship between changes in the proportion of other highly paid employees and VC pay awards, which suggests that internal pay comparisons play an important role in remuneration committee decision making. As anticipated, the two external pay benchmarks have very different effects upon VC pay awards; the pay received by other VCs produces a marked 'mean reversion' in pay levels while the pay of CEOs running comparable-sized UK firms had a highly significant positive impact upon VC pay awards. Following the insights of institutional theory, we interpret this conservatism by university remuneration committees as stemming primarily from legitimation concerns rather than financial constraints. Copyright (c) Blackwell Publishing Ltd/London School of Economics 2008.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by London School of Economics in its journal British Journal of Industrial Relations.

    Volume (Year): 46 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 771-805

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:46:y:2008:i:4:p:771-805
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE

    Phone: +44 (020) 7405 7686
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:46:y:2008:i:4:p:771-805. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

    or (Christopher F. Baum)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.