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Comment & Response
December 2018

The Cumulative Sex Wage Gap in Cardiology

Author Affiliations
  • 1Heart and Vascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA Cardiol. 2018;3(12):1252-1253. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2018.3795

To the Editor In the article “The $2.5 Million Wage Gap in Cardiology,” Shah1 suggested $2.5 million as a “moderate” estimation of the cumulative wage gap between male and female cardiologists over 35 years. She should be commended for addressing this important issue. Several aspects of her models deserve consideration. First, the 7% wage gap obtained from the study by Jagsi et al2 may have been explained by residual confounders, such as medical directorships. This was noted in both the article2 and accompanying editorial.3 As such, no performance-based sex salary differences in their population remained a possibility. Second, men in all 3 earning models invested in “the stock market and other equity investments,” whereas women did not.1 Even women in the maximal earning model made no investments. Returns from stocks and other investment vehicles are not wages. Wages are dependent on contracts between employers and employees. Wealth is dependent not only on wages but also on personal budgets and investment strategies. Therefore, Shah’s models calculated wealth gaps between men who did invest vs women who did not invest.

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