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William Weeks, MD, MBA: Is a banker worth more than a doctor?

By Steven Greer, MD

As the populist rage grows over Wall Street banker pay, we interviewed William Weeks, MD/MBA, from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. He previously published studies looking at the work-hour-adjusted lifetime earning potential of various white-collar jobs, such as banking, surgery, law, etc. MBA grads earned the highest return on their school tuition investment and primary care doctors had the lowest.

We requested Dr. Weeks do for us a back-of-the-envelope update on his work plugging in the higher $600,000 “average pay” of Wall Street this year. The results were literally “off the chart”. Banker lifetime earning was on a different scale, and the wealthier 7-figure bankers were not included.

Specialists like neurosurgeons bring in more revenue for their institutions than a typical banker, yet are paid far less over their career span than a mid-level “average” banker at Goldman Sachs. Primary care doctors receive the least lifetime pay of the professions in the study.

A true market does not exist for doctors and the banking market is rigged to win, many would argue. This all raises the question of what society should be rewarding more, bankers or doctors, and by what method?

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