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Female Primary Care Physicians Make Less in Net Wages than Physician Assistants

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The Journal of Human Capital recently released a study claiming that female primary care physicians would be better off financially if they had become physician assistants instead. The economists who conducted the study claim the debt from education and the tendency for female doctors to work less after having children are factors. They also claim the the gender gap in wages is also a factor.

This is especially interesting because most primary care physicians' income is based on productivity, or a fee for service model. These productivity models are usually the same regardless of gender, so theoretically there should be no gender gap unless female physicians are simply seeing fewer patients.

Furthermore, most practice management consultants would tell you that female providers typically build practices quicker than their male counterparts because many female patients prefer having a female physician. So if there is a wage gap, it is very possible that it is the physician's choice to have a slower practice.

Based upon most salary surveys, female primary care physicians should be able to earn about twice as much as a female physician assistant. A physician assistant may require less education, and therefore have less educational debt, but a female physician should have the ability to earn more if she wants to.

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