May 2024

IZA DP No. 16990: Effects of Mandatory Residencies on Female Physicians' Specialty Choices: Evidence from Japan's New Medical Residency Program

published in: Labour Economics, 2024, 90, 102566

Female physicians remain underrepresented in surgical specialties in Japan. The 2004 New Postgraduate Medical Education Program mandated a two-year rotating residency that allowed residents to choose their specialty after training in multiple fields, including surgery. Following this reform, there was a 2.7 percentage points increase in female physicians choosing general surgery and a 1.5 percentage points increase in urology being chosen, compared to male physicians, as well as a 3.4 percentage points decrease in internal medicine being chosen. This shift of female physicians toward male-dominated surgical specialties is primarily seen in breast surgery, catering to female patients, and in urology, known for its shorter workweeks.