I dream of Gini: Quantifying inequality in otolaryngology residency interviews

Andrew H. Lee, Patrick Young, Ross Liao, Paul H. Yi, Douglas Reh, Simon R. Best

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives: Otolaryngology applicants routinely decry conflicting interview dates because this limits the number of interviews that one can attend, despite being offered an interview. Conversely, applicants also perceive that a large number of interviews are offered to a minority of applicants. We sought to verify and quantify the inequality in distribution of interviews attended. Study Design: Retrospective analysis of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) 2016 Charting Outcomes in the Match and Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) historic specialty data. Methods: The Gini coefficient, a commonly used indicator of economic inequality, was calculated using data from the 2016 Charting Outcomes in the Match to estimate the distribution of interviews attended. This data was compared to nine other specialties, comprising a wide range of competitiveness and specialty size. Results: 26% (110 of 416) of otolaryngology applicants accounted for half (1,721 of 3,426) of all possible interview positions. The Gini coefficient ranged from 0.43 to 0.84 across 10 specialties, with a higher coefficient indicating higher inequality. The Gini coefficient among otolaryngology applicants was 0.43, indicating lower inequality than most other specialties. When including only applicants who interviewed, the Gini coefficient was 0.23. Conclusion: There is an unequal distribution of interview invitations, which likely reflects the reality of asymmetry in applicant competitiveness. Otolaryngology demonstrates the greatest equality in distribution, which may stem from a greater burden of hoarding. The specialty's perceived competitiveness mitigates factors such as cost and time, essentially encouraging more people to take as many interviews as they can. Level of Evidence: NA Laryngoscope, 129:627–633, 2019.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)627-633
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Residency interview
  • interview dates
  • match

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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