Getting Doctors into the Bush: General Practitioners' Preferences for Rural Location

36 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2012

See all articles by Anthony Scott

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

Guyonne R.J. Kalb

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research; IZA; ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course

Sung-Hee Jeon

Statistics Canada; University of Melbourne

Matthew McGrail

Gippsland Medical School, Monash University

Date Written: July 2012

Abstract

A key policy issue in many countries is the maldistribution of doctors across geographic areas, which has important effects on equity of access and health care costs. Many government programs and incentive schemes have been established to encourage doctors to practise in rural areas. However, there is little robust evidence of the effectiveness of such incentive schemes. The aim of this study is to examine the preferences of general practitioners (GPs) for rural location using a discrete choice experiment. This is used to estimate the probabilities of moving to a rural area, and the size of financial incentives GPs would require to move there. GPs were asked to choose between two job options or to stay at their current job as part of the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) longitudinal survey of doctors. 3,727 GPs completed the experiment. Sixty five per cent of GPs chose to stay where they were in all choices presented to them. Moving to an inland town with less than 5,000 population and reasonable levels of other job characteristics would require incentives equivalent to 64% of current average annual personal earnings ($116,000). Moving to a town with a population between 5,000 and 20,000 people would require incentives of at least 37% of current annual earnings, around $68,000. The size of incentives depend not only on the area but also on the characteristics of the job. The least attractive rural job package would require incentives of at least 130% of annual earnings, around $237,000.

Keywords: discrete choice experiment, incentives, physicians, primary care, rural

JEL Classification: I11, J18, J28, J33, J44, R53

Suggested Citation

Scott, Anthony and Witt, Julia and Humphreys, John and Joyce, Catherine and Kalb, Guyonne R.J. and Jeon, Sung-Hee and McGrail, Matthew, Getting Doctors into the Bush: General Practitioners' Preferences for Rural Location (July 2012). Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2126895 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2126895

Anthony Scott (Contact Author)

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

Guyonne R.J. Kalb

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

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

IZA ( email )

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

ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, 3053
Australia

Sung-Hee Jeon

Statistics Canada ( email )

Ottawa, Ontario
Canada

University of Melbourne ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053
Australia

Matthew McGrail

Gippsland Medical School, Monash University ( email )

23 Innovation Walk
Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
246
Abstract Views
1,428
rank
126,517
PlumX Metrics