The returns to medical school: Evidence from admission lotteries

Published in: American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 8 (2). (2016). 225--254. (with Nadine Ketel and Hessel Oosterbeek and Bas Van der Klaauw)

We exploit admission lotteries to estimate the returns to medical school in the Netherlands. Using data from up to 22 years after the lottery, we find that in every single year after graduation doctors earn at least 20 percent more than people who end up in their next-best occupation. Twenty-two years after the lottery the earnings difference is almost 50 percent. Only a small fraction of this difference can be attributed to differences in working hours and human capital investments. The returns do not vary with gender or ability, and shift the entire earnings distribution.

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