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Sex Differences in Income Vary With Proportion of Male Doctors

FRIDAY, July 31, 2020 -- For surgical and nonsurgical specialists, sex differences in income vary with the proportion of male physicians in a practice, according to a study published online July 30 in The BMJ.

Christopher M. Whaley, Ph.D., from RAND in Santa Monica, California, and colleagues conducted a retrospective observational study involving 18,802 physicians from 9,848 group practices categorized according to the proportion of male physicians.

The researchers found that among 11,490 nonsurgical specialists, the absolute adjusted sex difference in annual income (men versus women) was $36,604 and $91,669 for practices with 50 percent or less male physicians versus at least 90 percent male physicians (11.7 and 19.9 percent relative difference, respectively). Among 3,483 surgical specialists, similar findings were observed, with an absolute adjusted sex difference in annual income of $46,503 and $149,460 for practices with 50 percent or less male physicians versus at least 90 percent male physicians (10.2 and 26.9 percent relative difference, respectively). There was no association seen for sex differences in income with the proportion of male physicians in a practice among 3,829 primary care physicians.

"Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that greater diversity in the workplace could help to deal with disparities in income," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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Posted: July 2020