Readers reactions

September 18, 1998

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Andrew Oswald argued that British universitieswill follow the lead of the United States, whereacademics are paid according to subject. Highest salaries are for computing, economics and chemistry, and lowest for music, art and languages

Dylan Evans Research student in philosophy, logic and scientific method, LSE

It is a sad but likely development. I research psychology and philosophy but may find myself having to concentrate my research interests in the subject that is likely to pay more, probably psychology.

Ray Monk Senior lecturer in philosophy, University of Southampton.

Sharp differences in professorial salaries already exist in British universities, or they are inevitable. I am not convinced that they depend on what subject you teach. What salary differentials do depend on is how much you are worth; how much extra research funding you can bring to a university. Such market forces cannot be totally resisted, but nor can they be allowed to run rampant or they would threaten the very existence of the humanities.

Patrick Minford Professor of economics, Cardiff Business School

Andrew Oswald is right. British universities need resources and talent; but the taxpayer is unwilling to pay. So universities will have to set fees according to the market and hire people according to it as well. But the extent of this should be a deliberate institutional choice and not one imposed by regulation.

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