Differences in earnings between male and female physicians

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  • Differences in earnings between male and female physicians. Baker LC*. N Engl J Med 1996;334: 960-4.

    THE EARNINGS OF MALE PHYSICIANS WERE DOCU-mented to be substantially greater than those of female physicians in the 1970s. Even after adjusting for the number of hours worked and for other confounding factors, the difference in remuneration was approximately 13% when the most recent estimate of this disparity was generated approximately 15 years ago. Because the number of women entering the medical workforce has increased considerably since that time, the author wished to determine whether earnings patterns similarly have changed. Data from the 1991 Survey of Young Physicians (which involved physicians under 45 years of age and with two to nine years of practice experience) were compared with data from the 1987 survey and with information available from the American Medical Association. In 1990, young male physicians earned 41% more per year than young female physicians (male:female earnings ratio, 1.41; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.34 to

    1.49). Adjusting for time worked, young men earned 14% more per hour (ratio, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.09 to 1.20). There was no earnings difference, however, after adjustments for differences in specialty, practice setting, and other characteristics were taken into account (ratio, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.96 to 1.04). Women earned more than men in general practice and family practice (ratio, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.78 to 0.97), whereas in internal medicine and its subspecialties and in emergency medicine, men earned more than women (ratio, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.10 to 1.44\. Male physicians in practice ten years or more earned more than their female counterparts (ratio, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.07 to 1.27). The author concluded that physicians younger than 45 years, with two to nine years of practice experience, and with similar characteristics earn comparable wages regardless of gender, but among older physicians and in some specialties, a difference in earnings persists.George B. Bartley

    "'Department of Health Research and Policy, Stanford University School of Medicine, HRP Redwood Bldg., Rm. 253, Stanford, CA 94305-5092.

    VOL.122, No. I ABSTRACTS 147