Hiv Pandemic, Medical Brain Drain, and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

Posted: 7 Jul 2008

See all articles by Alok Bhargava

Alok Bhargava

University of Maryland School of Public Policy

Frédéric Docquier

Université catholique de Louvain; CREAM, Centre for Research on Environmental Appraisal & Management, UK; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

Country-level longitudinal data at three-year intervals over 1990-2004 are used to analyze the factors affecting emigration of physicians from Sub-Saharan countries and the effects of this medical brain drain on life expectancy and number of deaths due to AIDS. Data are compiled on emigrating African physicians from 16 receiving Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. A comprehensive longitudinal database is developed by merging the medical brain drain variables with recent data on HIV prevalence rates, public health expenditures, physicians' wages, and economic and demographic variables. A triangular system of equations is estimated in a random effects framework using five time observations for medical brain drain rates, life expectancy, and number of deaths due to AIDS, taking into account the interdependence of these variables. Lower wages and higher HIV prevalence rates are strongly associated with the brain drain of physicians from Sub-Saharan African to OECD countries. In countries in which the HIV prevalence rate exceeds 3 percent, a doubling of the medical brain drain rate is associated with a 20 percent increase in adult deaths from AIDS; medical brain drain does not appear to affect life expectancy. These findings underscore the need to improve economic conditions for physicians in order to retain physicians in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially as antiretroviral treatment becomes more widely available.

Keywords: C33, C5, F22, I12, O11, O55

Suggested Citation

Bhargava, Alok and Docquier, Frédéric, Hiv Pandemic, Medical Brain Drain, and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa (2008). The World Bank Economic Review, Vol. 22, Issue 2, pp. 345-366, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1156195 or http://dx.doi.org/lhn005

Alok Bhargava (Contact Author)

University of Maryland School of Public Policy ( email )

Van Munching Hall
College Park, MD 20742
United States
301 405 6330 (Phone)

Frédéric Docquier

Université catholique de Louvain ( email )

IRES
Place Montesquieu 3
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://https://perso.uclouvain.be/frederic.docquier/

CREAM, Centre for Research on Environmental Appraisal & Management, UK

University of Newcastle
NE1 7RU Newcastle Upon Tyne
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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