This is an interesting piece on what at first glance may seem possible unintended consequences of the REF (the UK’s Research Excellence Framework, which is used to evaluate universities to determine how a portion of government funds is doled out).
I describe this as a possible unintended consequence for two reasons, the second of which is more interesting. First, the increase in professorial pay may not be, as is mentioned in the article, caused by the REF. So much for caveats.
Second, however, it would be interesting to see whether the rise in professorial pay is indeed an unintended consequence of the REF. I would argue that the REF is part of the Neoliberal agenda for universities. Neoliberal policies in general do tend to reward those in ‘higher’ positions within the market — think of the incredible bonuses paid to corporate leaders, for instance. (On this point, see Mirowski’s “Defining Neoliberalism,” especially characteristics #8 and #9 on pp. 438-9.) That those at the top of the academic food chain (professors and high-level administrators) are benefiting from the neoliberalization of the university should actually be expected.
Now, we just need an enterprising social scientists to establish a causal connection, and we’re on our way …!