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Does it pay to be a general practitioner in France?


  • Brigitte Dormont
  • Anne-Laure Samson

    (Legos - Laboratoire d'Economie et de Gestion des Organisations de Santé - Université Paris-Dauphine)


The aim of this paper is to determine if the profession of GP is financially attractive in France.Using longitudinal data, we created two samples of 1,389 self-employed GPs and 4,825 salariedexecutives observed from 1980 to 2004. These two professions require high qualification levels,but studying to become a GP takes longer. To measure if GPs get returns that compensate fortheir investment in education, we analyze GPs’ and executives’ career profiles and construct ameasure of individual wealth that takes into account all earnings from the age of 24, includingyears with no or low income for GPs before they set up their practice.Econometric analysis shows that after an initial period of patient recruitment, physicians experiencea flatter career profile than executives. We also find that GP incomes for recent cohorts arefavored by the low numerus clausus applied when they were in medical school.Stochastic dominance analysis shows that, for men, wealth distributions do not differ significantlybetween GPs and executives, but, for women, GP wealth distribution dominates executive wealthdistribution at the first order. Hence, the relative return on medical studies is higher for women.While for men there is no monetary advantage or disadvantage in being a GP, for women, it ismore profitable to be a GP than an executive. This can explain the large proportion of femaleGPs and the strong increase in the share of women among medical students.

Suggested Citation

  • Brigitte Dormont & Anne-Laure Samson, 2015. "Does it pay to be a general practitioner in France?," Post-Print hal-01340028, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01340028
    DOI: 10.15609/annaeconstat2009.119-120.149
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server:

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