Roberta Ness, MD, MPH; Flora Ukoli, MD
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Ness R, Ukoli F. Salary Equity among Male and Female Internists. Ann Intern Med. 2001;134:798-799. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-134-9_Part_1-200105010-00026
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2001;134(9_Part_1):798-799.
We appreciate Dr. Ross's comments. As with most research, our analysis leaves as many important questions unanswered as answered. In this case, the relevant questions relate to the economic, social, and cultural factors driving salary inequity.
Dr. Ross cites three factors that may have confounded our results: weeks worked per year, productivity, and voluntary lifestyle tradeoffs. Dr. Ross himself shows that number of weeks worked per year would not eliminate the observed effect. His further point about productivity was considered in a 1999 survey published by Physician's Weekly, based on a poll of physicians from the Medical Group Management Association, the United States' largest organization of physicians working in group practices (1). Although women did report seeing fewer patients per year, in part because of fewer working hours and in part because they spend more time with each patient, patient load could not account for the salary gap observed. For example, among noninvasive cardiologists, after adjustment for patients seen, men earned $163 per case and women earned $144 per case. The final issue Dr. Ross cites as a possible confounder is voluntary lifestyle tradeoffs leading to choice of subspecialty and practice type. To avoid confusion, we reiterate that even after adjustment for differences in professional niche, women were less well compensated then men. Had we not adjusted for this, the salary differential would have been far greater than the adjusted 14% we reported.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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