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Is medical school a worthwhile investment for women?

Recommended by Alan Hickey

Published: Monday, July 23 2012 2:29 p.m. MDT

In this Monday, Sept. 19, 2011 photo, Rebecca Allred, a second-year chemistry doctoral student at Yale, prepares a slide at the Kline Chemistry Laboratory at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

Jessica Hill, Associated Press

Our take: Comparatively, women are earning less than men in many professional careers. The question that now stands is whether it is worth it for women to get professional and doctorate degrees because of the low pay-off. This article by Keith Chen and Judith Chevalier seeks to answer this question.

Over the last quarter century, women have been earning college and professional degrees in record numbers. In 1976, women earned only 45 percent of bachelor's degrees in the United States; by 2006 that had increased to 58 percent. During that same interval, women have made even larger gains in advanced degrees. For example, in 1976 women constituted only 24 percent of first year medical students. By 2006, that number which doubled to 48 percent.

Despite these gains in education, a number of recent studies find that women's incomes lag those of men. In a study of MBA students from a top program, Marianne Bertrand, Claudia Goldin, and Larry Katz found that while men and women had similar earnings at the outset of their careers ($115,000 per year for women versus $130,000 per year for men), within ten years of graduation men outearned women by $150,000 per year. Similar income gaps have been found for doctors and lawyers.

Read more about Is medical school a worthwhile investment for women? on The Atlantic.

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