Why Junior Doctors Don’t Want to Become General Practitioners: A Discrete Choice Experiment from the MABEL Longitudinal Study of Doctors

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 17/10

33 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2010

See all articles by Peter Mathew Sivey

Peter Mathew Sivey

RMIT University - School of Economics, Finance and Marketing; La Trobe University - Faculty of Business, Economics and Law; University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research

Anthony Scott

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research

Julia Witt

University of Manitoba - Department of Economics

John Humphreys

Monash University - Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Catherine Joyce

Monash University - Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine

Date Written: October 6, 2010

Abstract

A number of studies suggest there is an over-supply of specialists and an under-supply of GPs in many developed countries. Previous econometric studies of specialty choice from the US suggest that a number of factors play a role, including expected future earnings, educational debt, and having predictable working hours. Given endogeneity issues in revealed preference studies, a stated-preference approach is warranted. This paper presents results from a discrete-choice experiment completed by a sample of 532 junior doctors in 2008 before they choose a specialty training program. This was conducted as part of the first wave of the MABEL (Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life) longitudinal survey of doctors. We include key job attributes such as future earnings and hours worked, but also allow the choice to be influenced by academic research opportunities, continuity of care and the amount of procedural work. Interactions of attributes with doctor characteristics, including gender, educational debt, and personality traits are also examined. We find the income/working hours trade-offs estimated from our discrete choice model are close to the actual wages of senior specialists, but much higher than those of senior GPs. In a policy simulation we find that increasing GPs’ earnings by $50,000, increasing opportunities for procedural or academic work can increase the number of junior doctors choosing General Practice by between 8 and 16 percentage points, approximately 212 to 376 junior doctors per year. The results can inform policymakers looking to address unbalanced supply of doctors across specialties.

Keywords: junior doctors, discrete choice experiment, specialty choice

JEL Classification: C9, I11, J24

Suggested Citation

Sivey, Peter Mathew and Scott, Anthony and Witt, Julia and Humphreys, John and Joyce, Catherine, Why Junior Doctors Don’t Want to Become General Practitioners: A Discrete Choice Experiment from the MABEL Longitudinal Study of Doctors (October 6, 2010). Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 17/10. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1688667 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1688667

Peter Mathew Sivey (Contact Author)

RMIT University - School of Economics, Finance and Marketing ( email )

Level 10, Building 80
445 Swanston Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000
Australia

La Trobe University - Faculty of Business, Economics and Law ( email )

Victoria 3552, 3086
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.petersivey.com

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/people/psivey/home.html

Anthony Scott

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

Julia Witt

University of Manitoba - Department of Economics ( email )

Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 5V5
Canada

John Humphreys

Monash University - Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences ( email )

Victoria 3800
Australia

Catherine Joyce

Monash University - Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine ( email )

99 Commercial Road
Melbourne Victoria 3004
Australia

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