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Sex Differences in Docs' Salaries Persist

From a survey of active mid-career physician researchers in the US, the University of Michigan's Reshma Jagsi and her colleagues found that male academics make more than their female counterparts, even when salaries are adjusted for differences in specialty, institutional characteristics, academic productivity, academic rank, work hours, and more. In a paper published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association this week, Jagsi et al. report the results of their study, which showed a mean salary of $200,433 for men in the cohort, $167,669 for women, and that the expected mean salary for female physician researchers, had they retained their measured characteristics but their gender were male, "would be $12,194 higher than observed."

Part of that gendered salary difference might be because the women in the cohort studied tended to work in lower-paying specialties and were less likely to hold administrative leadership positions, the researchers say. "Nevertheless, the gender difference in salary observed herein was not fully explained by measured differences in specialization, institution, academic advancement, or productivity," Jagsi and her colleagues write in JAMA. They point to personal choices — like deciding to raise a family — and priorities as potential sources of gender-related pay differences among physician researchers.

"Ultimately, this study provides evidence that gender differences in compensation continue to exist in academic medicine," Jagsi et al. conclude.

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