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Hours Constraints, Occupational Choice, and Gender: Evidence from Medical Residents

Melanie Wasserman

Review of Economic Studies, 2023, vol. 90, issue 3, 1535-1568

Abstract: Do the long work hours required by many high-paying professions inhibit the entry of women? I investigate this question by studying a 2003 policy that capped the average workweek for medical residents at 80 hours. Using data on the universe of US medical school graduates, I find that when a specialty reduces its weekly hours, more women enter the specialty, whereas there is little change in men’s entry. I provide evidence that the increase in women is due to changes in labour supply, rather than labour demand. At the residency program level, I document that baseline female representation predicts female entry after the reform. A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that the reallocation of women among medical specialties due to the hours reduction can close the physician gender wage gap by 11$\%$.

Keywords: Occupational choice; Long hours; Gender; J16; J24; J44 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023
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Review of Economic Studies is currently edited by Thomas Chaney, Andrea Galeotti, Bård Harstad, Nir Jaimovich, Kurt Mitman, Francesca Molinari, Katrine Loken and Elias Papaioannou

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