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I don’t think that they would respond with a counter offer. It of course just depends on the particular people, but I think even in the business world, one compares apples to apples, so to speak. We all know that faculty get paid less, but there are many perks—flexible schedule, summers “off”, some research budget. There’s also the notion that they don’t want to hand you over to the “competition”, and that they generally want to be paying their faculty what it takes to retain them. This rationale isn’t operative in a non-academic offer.

So while I think “another reader” is a bit too cynical, I also think they wouldn’t respond well, and you might run the risk of conveying to your administration that your heart is not in academia.

Of course, science and law professors get paid more, partly because they could all work elsewhere for more. But if you are in philosophy, that general claim is not true, you just happen to be a special case.

I saw it

Once, a colleague in another department (in the social sciences) was offered a position at a near by competitor college. She approached the administration to ask for a modest raise - $3000. She was an active research, had done service beyond her level, and was a solid teacher. They said NO ... flat no. In certain sectors of higher ed, there is virtually no bargaining. If you get a job you might as well leave.

SLAC prof.

I suspect the most important distinction is not between R1 and teaching schools, but between well-to-do schools and less-well-off schools. I am at a very well to do liberal arts college. I know of multiple people who have received substantial raises due to competing offers or even the prospect of a competing offer (i.e. being a finalist for a position). On other hand, I have friends as less well-to-do schools where the policy is basically that retention offers are not a thing. They just let people go.

OP should try to figure out whether their institution gives retention offers. If they do, then I think it's well worth getting an outside offer, even if it's a non-academic offer. My sense is that places that give retention offers don't care what the other option is. They care that the person is entertaining another option.

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