How much more money do male physicians earn vs. female physicians?

Do male physicians earn more than females? And if so, by how much?

This is the question posed by a recent paper by Whaley et al. (2021). The authors use data from Doximity, an online professional network for physicians. Doximity includes information for more than 70% of US physicians, including data partnerships with National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES), National Provider Identifier (NPI) registry, American Board of Medical Specialties, state licensing boards, specialty societies, and collaborating medical schools and hospitals. Income information comes from Doximity’s annual survey of physician income between 2014 and 2019. The authors control for patient volume by linking physician NPI to Medicare claims data on Medicare billings for that NPI.

The differences in annual income between male and female physicians that we observed in our simulations increased most rapidly during the initial years of practice. Over the course of a simulated forty-year career, male physicians earned an average adjusted gross income of $8,307,327 compared with an average of $6,263,446 for female physicians—an absolute adjusted difference of $2,043,881 and relative difference of 24.6 percent. Gender differences in career earnings were largest for surgical specialists ($2.5 million difference), followed by nonsurgical specialists ($1.6 million difference) and primary care physicians ($0.9 million difference).

Note, however, that these estimates come from a cross section of physician income that the authors use to estimate the full life cycle of physician income; longitudinal data by physician are measure over a relatively short 6-year time frame.

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