Differences in Employment Income of University Professors

By Li, Peter S. | Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal, Summer 2012 | Go to article overview
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Differences in Employment Income of University Professors

Li, Peter S., Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal


This paper analyzes the employment earnings of university professors in Canada to see if visible minority status affects earnings. Using detailed data from the Analytical File of the 2006 Census of Canada, the study compares the earnings of professors of eight non-white groups to the earnings of white professors, controlling for gender. The findings indicate that most visible minority professors, male and female, earned less than their white counterparts before individual characteristics are controlled, and the earnings disparities, albeit in smaller magnitudes, remain after other differences are adjusted. Since productivity, not measured, may affect earnings, the study performs another analysis on young professors under the age of 32. The analysis shows the same pattern: visible minority status affects net earnings after other factors have been controlled. The study concludes that it is difficult to attribute residual earnings disparities to unequal racial treatment since productivity is not measured. However, it is equally hard to dismiss unequal racial treatment since the same pattern is also found among professors in the early stage of their career where productivity differences tend to be much smaller.


Dans cet article, nous analysons les revenus d'emploi des professeurs d'universite au Canada pour voir si I'appartenance a une minorite visible en influence le niveau. A partir des donnees detaillees du Dossier analytique du recensement du Canada de 2006, nous comparons dans cette etude les gains de professeurs de huit greupes de couleur avec ceux de huit groupes de Blancs, tout en tenant compre du sexe. D'apres les resultats, les professeurs des minorites les plus visibles, hommes et femmes, etaient moins remuneres que ceux de race blanche, et ce, avant de faire cas des caracteristiques individuelles, et les disparites dans ces revenus restent, meme si elles sont de moindre magnitude, une fois que d'autres differences sont ajustees. Etant donne que la preductivite, non evaluee, peut affecter les remunerations, cette etude comprend aussi une autre analyse qui porte sur les jeunes professeurs de moins de 32 ans. Cette analyse met en evidence le meme modele : I'appartenance a une minorite visible joue un role sur le salaire net, une fois les autres facteurs pris en compte, li resulte de cette etude qu'il est difficile d'attribuer les disparites residuelles de revenu a un traitement racial inegal, etant donne que la productivite n'est pas mesuree. II est cependant tout aussi ardu de rejeter I'existence d'une telle inegalite, vu que la meme tendance se retrouve aussi chez les professeurs en debut de carriere, quand les differences de productivite ont tendance a etre moindres.


If ethnic diversity in Canada is measured in terms of the size of the visible minority population, the evidence is clear that Canada has become increasingly more diverse since the 1970s. No doubt, rising immigration from non-European source regions has been the single most important factor that contributes to the increase in ethnic diversity in Canada (Li 2003). Data from the Census of Canada show that the visible minority population made up 4.7 percent of Canada's population in 1981, 9.4 percent in 1991, and 13.4 percent in 2001 (Statistics Canada 2008). By 2006, the visible minority population had reached over 5 million individuals, or 16.2 percent of Canada's total population (Statistics Canada 2008). The labour force participation rate for the visible minority population was 67.3 percent in 2006, compared to 66.8 percent among the total population of Canada (Statistics Canada 2011).

As the number of visible minorities continues to rise as a proportion of Canada's population and labour force, the question remains as to whether they would enjoy the same opportunities as other Canadians. Past research on earnings inequality has suggested that "race" and "gender" are key factors associated with differential earnings of Canadians (Li 1992, 2000, 2001; Pendakur and Pendakur 1998, 2002, 2007).

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