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Determinants of Physicians’ Decisions to Specialize

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Abstract

. In this paper, we study physician specialty decisions using several unique data sets which include information on almost all Canadian physicians who practised in Canada between 1989 and 1998. Unlike previous studies, we use a truly exogenous measure of potential income across general and specialty medicine to estimate the effect of income on physicians’ specialty choices. Furthermore, our estimation procedure allows us to purge the income-effect estimates of non-pecuniary specialty attributes which may be correlated with higher paying specialties. Understanding the effect of potential income (and other variables) on choices is necessary if the desired mix across generalists and specialists as well as across specialties is to be achieved. Our results show that physicians respond to differences in income when making their specialty decisions. More specifically, our simulation exercise suggests that provinces could increase the proportion of graduates who select a surgical specialty by increasing the fees they pay to them.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 03-01.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iea:carech:0301

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Postal: Institut d'économie appliquée HEC Montréal 3000, Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine Montréal, Québec H3T 2A7
Phone: (514) 340-6463
Fax: (514) 340-6469
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Web page: http://www.hec.ca/iea/
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Postal: Institut d'économie appliquée HEC Montréal 3000, Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine Montréal, Québec H3T 2A7
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Keywords: Physician Specialty Choice;

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  1. J Hurley, 1991. "Physicians' Choices of Specialty, Location and Mode: A Re-examination Within an Interdependent Decision Framework," Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis Working Paper Series 1, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA), McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
  2. Sean Nicholson, 2002. "Physician Specialty Choice under Uncertainty," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 816-847, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Sivey, Peter & Scott, Anthony & Witt, Julia & Joyce, Catherine & Humphreys, John, 2012. "Junior doctors’ preferences for specialty choice," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 813-823.

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