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The interprovincial migration of Canadian physicians: does income matter?

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This study applies a multinomial logit model of human-capital migration to examine the factors influencing the movement of physicians within Canadian provinces between 1976 and 1992. The empirical investigation covers general practitioners and specialists (it excludes interns/residents) between seven regions (Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia). The results suggest that differences in real income have a positive and significant effect on a physician's decision to migrate form one province to another. Provinces with the highest after tax income, highest expenditure per physician, and highest fee-per-service rates have the highest net rate of in-migration. Income differences are however, not the only factor influencing a physician's choice to move. Working conditions within a province, which we proxy with the number of hospitals beds and health expenditures per capita, are also important factors. Likewise, the ratio of rural to urban population, distance between the major city in each province and provincial population all have a negative impact on a physician's migration choice. Finally, a dummy variable is used to allow for language differences between Quebec and the rest of the provinces and find that language differences have a significant and negative impact on a physician decision to migrate.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-11-01

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