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Journal Article

Does It Pay to Be a General Practitioner in France?

Brigitte Dormont and Anne-Laure Samson
Annals of Economics and Statistics
No. 119/120, SPECIAL ISSUE ON HEALTH AND LABOUR ECONOMICS (December 2015), pp. 149-178
Published by: GENES on behalf of ADRES
DOI: 10.15609/annaeconstat2009.119-120.149
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Page Count: 30
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Does It Pay to Be a General Practitioner in France?
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The aim of this paper is to determine if the profession of GP is financially attractive in France. Using longitudinal data, we created two samples of 1,389 self-employed GPs and 4,825 salaried executives observed from 1980 to 2004. These two professions require high qualification levels, but studying to become a GP takes longer. To measure if GPs get returns that compensate for their investment in education, we analyze GPs' and executives' career profiles and construct a measure of individual wealth that takes into account all earnings from the age of 24, including years with no or low income for GPs before they set up their practice. Econometric analysis shows that after an initial period of patient recruitment, physicians experience a flatter career profile than executives. We also find that GP incomes for recent cohorts are favored by the low numerus clausus applied when they were in medical school. Stochastic dominance analysis shows that, for men, wealth distributions do not differ significantly between GPs and executives, but, for women, GP wealth distribution dominates executive wealth distribution at the first order. Hence, the relative return on medical studies is higher for women. While for men there is no monetary advantage or disadvantage in being a GP, for women, it is more profitable to be a GP than an executive. This can explain the large proportion of female GPs and the strong increase in the share of women among medical students. JEL: D31, J31, I11, C23. / KEY WORDS: GPs, Executive, Self-Employed, Earning Profile, Longitudinal Data, Stochastic Dominance.

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