The Returns to Medical School: Evidence from Admission Lotteries

N. Ketel, E. Leuven, H. Oosterbeek, B. van der Klaauw

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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 nextbest 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-254
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Applied Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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