For Public Service or Money: Understanding Geographical Imbalances in the Health Workforce

35 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2005

See all articles by Pieter M. Serneels

Pieter M. Serneels

University of Oxford - Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE)

Magnus Lindelow

World Bank

Jose Garcia-Montalvo

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Department of Economics and Business (DEB)

Abigail Barr

University of Nottingham

Date Written: August 2005

Abstract

Geographical imbalances in the health workforce have been a consistent feature of nearly all health systems, and especially in developing countries. In this paper we investigate the willingness to work in a rural area among final year nursing and medical students in Ethiopia. Analyzing data obtained from contingent valuation questions, we find that household consumption and the student's motivation to help the poor, which is our proxy for intrinsic motivation, are the main determinants of willingness to work in a rural area. We investigate who are willing to help the poor and find that women are significantly more likely to help than men. Other variables, including a rich set of psycho-social characteristics, are not significant. Finally, we carry out some simulations on how much it would cost to make the entire cohort of starting nurses and doctors choose to take up a rural post.

Keywords: health care delivery, health workers, labour supply, public service

JEL Classification: D1, J22, J64

Suggested Citation

Serneels, Pieter M. and Lindelow, Magnus and Garcia-Montalvo, Jose and Barr, Abigail Margaret, For Public Service or Money: Understanding Geographical Imbalances in the Health Workforce (August 2005). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 3686. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=786625

Pieter M. Serneels (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) ( email )

Oxford OX1 3UL
United Kingdom

Magnus Lindelow

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Jose Garcia-Montalvo

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Department of Economics and Business (DEB) ( email )

Barcelona, 08005
Spain

Abigail Margaret Barr

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

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