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The supply of qualified nurses: a classical model of labour supply

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The need to ensure adequate numbers of nurses is a key requirement of the current modernization of the UK NHS. However, it is unclear how effective wages are as an instrument to maintain or increase the nursing workforce, both in terms of absolute numbers and in the number of whole time equivalents. This study sets out to estimate a classical model of labour supply for British qualified married or cohabiting nurses and midwives, looking at both the participation decision and the hours of work supplied. Data are from the Quarterly Labour Force Survey over the years 1999-2000. Participation and hours of work are found to be inelastic with respect to own wage. These results suggest that increasing the wage would only have a moderate effect on labour supply. Interestingly, there is no significant statistical difference between having a child of nursery age (3-4) and having a child of school age (5-15) on participation and hours supplied. This suggests that recent policy initiatives to increase female labour force participation, through the provision of free nursery places, has been successful. Preliminary analysis of a split private and public sector sample suggests that hours supplied are completely inelastic with respect to wages in the public sector.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Economics University of Aberdeen Polwarth Building Foresterhill Aberdeen AB25 2ZD UK

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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