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Barriers to Entering Medical Specialties

Sean Nicholson

No 9649, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Non-primary care physicians earn considerably more than primary care physicians in the United States. I examine a number of explanations for the persistent high rates of return to medical specialization and conclude that barriers to entry may be creating an economic shortage of non-primary care physicians. I estimate that medical students would be willing to pay teaching hospitals to obtain residency positions in dermatology, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, and radiology rather than receiving the mean residents' salary of $34,000. In the simulation, the quantity of residents in these four specialties would increase by an estimated six to 30 percent, rates of return would fall substantially, and teaching hospitals would save an estimated $0.6 to $1.0 billion per year in labor costs.

JEL-codes: I11 J31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea
Date: 2003-04
Note: HC
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