The male-female gap in physician earnings: Evidence from a public health insurance system
Empirical evidence from U.S. studies suggests that female physicians earn less than their male counterparts, on average. The earnings gap does not disappear when individual and market characteristics are controlled for. This paper investigates whether a gender earnings difference can also be observed in a health care system predominantly financed by public insurance companies. Using a unique data set of physicians’ earnings recorded by a public social security agency in an Austrian province between 2000 and 2004, we find a gender gap in average earnings of about 32 percent. A substantial share of this gap (20 to 47 percent) cannot be explained by individual and market characteristics, leaving labor market discrimination as one possible explanation for the observed gender earnings difference of physicians.
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