NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Physician Income Expectations and Specialty Choice

Sean Nicholson, Nicholas S. Souleles

NBER Working Paper No. 8536
Issued in October 2001
NBER Program(s):   EFG   HC   LS

In spite of the important role of income expectations in economics, economists know little about how people actually form these expectations. We use a unique data set that contains the explicit income expectations of medical students over a 25-year time period to examine how students form income expectations. We examine whether students condition their expectations on their own ability, contemporaneous physician income, and the ex post income of physicians in their medical school cohort. We then test whether a model that uses the students' explicit income expectations to predict their specialty choices has a better fit than a model that assumes income expectations are formed statically, and a model that bases income expectations on ex post income.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w8536

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