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Gender differences in the incomes of self-employed French physicians: The role of family structure

Fanny Mikol and Carine Franc

Health Policy, 2019, vol. 123, issue 7, 666-674

Abstract: In most developed countries, the average income of female physicians remains much lower than that of their male counterparts. This paper analyses how much of the gender earnings gap among French self-employed physicians can be attributed to women’s family responsibilities, choice of medical specialty, and opportunity to charge extra billings. The question is of growing concern for regulators because it may influence patients’ future access to care. We used an exhaustive administrative database that merges information on the medical activity, earnings, and family structure of self-employed doctors in 2005, 2008, and 2011. Using the 2011 database, results suggest that when demographic and professional characteristics are controlled, female physicians still exhibit an annual earnings gap that varies according to family structure: having young children worsens the situation of female physicians, particularly GPs. Using our panel datasets from 2005, we show that there is a ‘carer effect’ of having children for female doctors that exacerbates the gender income gap, particularly for GPs. We do not highlight any real strategic behaviour of female specialists authorised to charge extra fees to increase their extra billings after a birth to maintain their previous income.

Keywords: Physicians' income; Fee-for-service; Gender differences; Maternity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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