Few would deny the intuitive appeal of the concept of ‘equal pay for equal work’, but is acting in a television series the sort of work for which the concept makes sense? Here, Gillian Anderson claims to be fighting the good fight for gender pay equity, having held out for and gotten pay terms equal to those of her X-Files reboot co-star, David Duchovny. She expresses dismay that Fox’s initial offer to her was half the offer made to Duchovny. However, it’s at least an open question whether Fox’s differing initial negotiating positions with Anderson and with Duchovny evidence gender pay inequity. Like professional athletes, actors are paid less for what they do than for how their presence improves the prospects of selling advertising. Professional basketball salaries, for example, aren’t scaled neatly to minutes played or points scored or rebounds secured, but to the outcome of a negotiation in which the player and a team’s management hash out their differing conceptions of how the player contributes to the financial bottom line. Looming large in these (and all) negotiations is each party’s BATNA—Best Alternative To (a) Negotiated Agreement: if an agreement isn’t reached, how good is each party’s next-best alternative? Negotiation theory suggests that if party A’s BATNA is more attractive to party A than is party B’s BATNA to party B, then party A has negotiating power: party A can secure more of the cooperative surplus in an agreement with party B because it is easier for A to walk away from a deal than for B to walk away. Why might actual or perceived BATNA explain the lower initial offer made to Anderson? Two things: (1) Although both Duchovny and Anderson have been successful actors since the initial X-Files run, Anderson has done more (lower-paying) television work and Duchovny has done more (higher-paying) film work. Comparing their track records, it is easy to form the hypothesis that Duchovny’s best alternative to acting in an X-Files reboot is more remunerative than is Anderson’s best alternative to acting in an X-Files reboot. (2) The peculiar X-Files storyline makes it possible (though undesirable) to recreate the show without Anderson-as-Dana-Scully, but virtually impossible to recreate it without Duchovny-as-Fox-Mulder. Put differently, Fox’s best alternative to hiring Anderson is better (or less bad) than Fox’s best alternative to hiring Duchovny. Putting those two things together, it’s easy to see why BATNA – and not gender – likely explains the different opening offers to Anderson and to Duchovny. The more interesting question, then, is why Fox ended up agreeing to pay Anderson equivalently to Duchovny. Was it because Fox executives saw the light on gender pay equity? Or was it instead that Fox’s best alternative to hiring Anderson got worse relative to Anderson’s best alternative to portraying Dana Scully once Duchovny signed on to the X-Files reboot? >>>
LINK: Gillian Anderson: I was offered less pay for ‘X-Files’ reboot (by Emanuella Grinberg for CNN)
“X-Files” costar Gillian Anderson, who plays agent Dana Scully, has been drawing attention to the gender gap in pay in interviews leading up to the Sunday premiere of the series’ revival on Fox.
Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Anderson and Duchovny ultimately received equal pay. Still, Anderson said, it was galling given that she had fought this battle before during the series’ first run.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she said she was offered “half of what they wanted to offer” costar David Duchovny, who plays agent Fox Mulder, to participate in the reboot.
It took three years for her to close the gap between what she and Duchovny were making in the 1990s after becoming fed up with accepting less than “equal pay for equal work,” she told the Daily Beast.
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