Pay Gap for Doctors Widening | Bleader

Pay Gap for Doctors Widening


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Newly trained women doctors earn about $17,000 less per year than their male counterparts, according to a new study by UIC professor Anthony T. Lo Sasso and other researchers. Published in this month's edition of Health Affairs, the study says the disparity—which was only $3,600 in 1999—affects salaries in nearly every specialty, and exists "even after accounting for gender differences in determinants of salary including medical specialty, hours worked, and practice type." Supposedly, this is a good thing?

My copy of Health Affairs hasn't come in the mail yet, most likely because of the snow. But the folks at the L.A. Times got their copy (probably delivered by a mail carrier wearing short sleeves), and say the study suggests women doctors' salaries are lower not because of evil sexism or anything, but because these newly minted docs are taking lower-paying jobs on purpose. Why would they do that? "[B]ecause [those jobs] offer greater flexibility in hours and are generally more family-friendly," says the Times. "The researchers acknowledge they don't have the data to prove that this is the case, but the data they do have is consistent with this theory . . . Studies show that many doctors are burned out and would rather take jobs that allow them to have a good quality of life. Now — thanks in large part to the growing ranks of female doctors — such jobs are available. They just come with lower salaries."