Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

HERO On line Working Paper Series,
Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme

No 2009:11: Life Cycle Wages of Doctors - An Empirical Analysis of the Earnings of Norwegian Physicians

Knut Fjeldvig ()
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Knut Fjeldvig: Department of Economics, University of Oslo

Abstract: We use individual panel data to estimate ageearnings profiles for Norwegian physicians. Based on data covering the 19932006 period we find that the ageearning profiles of physicians share many of the attributes of the classical Mincer function. Physician`s earnings rise, but a decreasing rate, for the first 20 years after medical training; they peak between the ages of 55 and 59; and they decline slightly toward the end of the career. We observe that there will be complications when using the regular crosssectional methods because of cohort and period effects on income. Using fixedeffects method therefore provides a more accurate picture of the profiles. When looking at profiles by gender we find that there are large differences between the earnings of male and female physicians, some of which can be attributed to reduced labor supply during childrearing years and some to lower investments in specialization among female doctors. We also discover differences in the profiles of physicians educated in Norway and abroad and discuss alternative explanations for this pattern.

Keywords: Physicians; age-earnings; income; mincer function; gender; empirical analysis; Norway

JEL-codes: J31; J44

41 pages, December 14, 2009

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