| Based on the inter-university panel data of 36 U.S. world-class universities over 18 years, the study finds that the amount, impact, and overall performance of research output scores showed a "decreasing and then increasing", "flat and then decreasing", and "continuously decreasing" trend respectively. "The absolute size of the average university salary has been increasing by years, accounting for about 50% of the total average university expenditure. The size of the average teacher salary has been increasing, and the average university salary structure was diversified and stable. The results of OLS, random effects, and fixed effects models on the relationship between salary size, salary structure and research output show that: in terms of salary scale, increasing the total salary expenditure of universities and expanding the salary scale of full-time teachers have significantly increased the amount, influence, and overall performance of university academic research output, but the total salary scale had a significantly stronger and positive impact on the amount of academic research output. The average salary of teachers had a positive and stronger effect on the impact of academic research output. In terms of the salary structure, increasing the scale of research salary, and support and service salary in the salary structure have also significantly increased the amount, influence, and overall performance of academic research output. Among them, the positive impact of research salary was stronger on the number and overall performance of academic research output, while the positive influence of support and service salary was stronger on the impact of academic research output. The increase in teaching salary had significantly increased the amount and impact of academic research output, but the increase in the salary scale of full-time teachers have only increased the amount of academic research output, while decreased the influence and overall performance of academic research output. Based on the findings of the study, the government and the world-class-building universities in China need to continue to optimize the structure of university expenditure, significantly increase the size of total and research salaries, change the salary system, and raise the level of teachers' salaries, etc.