My daughter wants to be a doctor — a primary care physician. She decided this when she was quite young (not that she’s all that old now) and has even contemplated joining the Army or Navy to get medical training and an entree into the promised land of med school.

Now, it’s entirely possible she’ll change her mind at the first whiff of Organic Chemistry (I certainly would), but what am I supposed to do with the article below? “Go ahead and go to med school, honey, but know that you’ll never earn enough money to pay back all your loans?” Data like this a dream-crusher.

It’s not entirely bleak: the author explains that women tend to work less hours, ostensibly because they take on the majority of child-care duties (usually) and of course we’re the ones who actually have the babies, so there’s maternity leave, and that those fewer hours worked accounts for a good deal of the lower pay. But that’s a problem and in and of itself: women are constantly faced with the choice between their professional lives and their family lives. And while it should be clear which is the priority, the fact that we have to choose at all — and earn less because of it — needs to change.


We found that, for over half of woman doctors in our data, the NPV of becoming a primary-care physician was less than the NPV of becoming a physician assistant. In contrast, the vast majority of male primary-care physicians earned an NPV greater than the NPV earned by a male PA. That is, while the vast majority of male doctors are financially better off for having become a doctor, the median female primary care physician would have been financially better off becoming a PA.

via Is Medical School a Worthwhile Investment for Women? – Keith Chen & Judith Chevalier – The Atlantic.



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