NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Do Female Physicians Capture Their Scarcity Value? The Case of OB/GYNs

Jessica Wolpaw Reyes

NBER Working Paper No. 12528
Issued in September 2006
NBER Program(s):   HC   HE   LS

This paper analyzes how the imperfectly competitive market for Obstetricians and Gynecologists clears in the face of an excess demand for female OB/GYNs. This excess demand results from the convergence of three factors: i) all OB/GYN patients are women, ii) many women prefer to be treated by a female OB/GYN, iii) only a small portion of OB/GYNs are female. The paper finds that both money and non-money prices adjust: female OB/GYNs charge higher fees and also have longer waiting times. Furthermore, these effects are mediated by institutional structure: in contract settings in which money prices are rigid (i.e. managed care), waiting times are more likely to adjust, and in settings in which money prices are more flexible, the reverse occurs. In the end, female OB/GYNs are able to capture some of the value of the preferred service they provide but do not entirely close the gender income gap.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12528

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