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Medical tourism and health worker migration in developing countries


  • Beladi, Hamid
  • Chao, Chi-Chur
  • Ee, Mong Shan
  • Hollas, Daniel


In developing countries of tourist destinations, an increase in medical tourism raises the wages in the medical tourism sector, thereby retaining skilled medical workers who otherwise leave the country. However, the expansion of medical tourism contracts the domestic healthcare services sector, causing lower labor productivity in the economy. Medical tourism can increase domestic welfare if the benefits from migration retention and tourism exports outweigh the losses in revenue and productivity declines.

Suggested Citation

  • Beladi, Hamid & Chao, Chi-Chur & Ee, Mong Shan & Hollas, Daniel, 2015. "Medical tourism and health worker migration in developing countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 391-396.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:46:y:2015:i:c:p:391-396
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2014.12.045

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chaudhuri, Sarbajit & Banerjee, Dibyendu, 2008. "Fair Wage Hypothesis, International Factor Mobility and Skilled-Unskilled Wage Inequality in a Developing Economy," MPRA Paper 9303, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Hamid Beladi & Sarbajit Chaudhuri & Shigemi Yabuuchi, 2008. "Can International Factor Mobility Reduce Wage Inequality in a Dual Economy?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(5), pages 893-903, November.
    3. Milica Z. Bookman & Karla R. Bookman, 2007. "Medical Tourism in Developing Countries," Palgrave Macmillan Books, Palgrave Macmillan, number 978-0-230-60565-7, September.
    4. Ronald W. Jones, 2018. "The Structure of Simple General Equilibrium Models," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: International Trade Theory and Competitive Models Features, Values, and Criticisms, chapter 4, pages 61-84, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    5. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
    6. Martine Rutten, 2009. "The Economic Impact of Medical Migration: A Receiving Country's Perspective," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 156-171, February.
    7. Antwi, James & Phillips, David C., 2013. "Wages and health worker retention: Evidence from public sector wage reforms in Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 101-115.
    8. Ramya Vijaya, 2010. "Medical Tourism: Revenue Generation or International Transfer of Healthcare Problems?," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(1), pages 53-70.
    9. CHEE, Heng Leng, 2008. "Ownership, control, and contention: Challenges for the future of healthcare in Malaysia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(10), pages 2145-2156, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Divya Chaudhry, 2022. "Is Medical Tourism Really Unethical? An Alternate Perspective for Developing Countries," Journal of Development Policy and Practice, , vol. 7(2), pages 145-157, July.
    2. Iva Bulatovic & Katia Iankova, 2021. "Barriers to Medical Tourism Development in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(3), pages 1-14, February.
    3. Ricardo Pagan & Daniel Horsfall, 2020. "Medical Tourism Markets: Models of Sustainability. The Case of Spain and The Costa del Sol (Malaga)," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(21), pages 1-17, October.
    4. Viktoriia Vovk & Lyudmila Beztelesna & Olha Pliashko, 2021. "Identification of Factors for the Development of Medical Tourism in the World," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(21), pages 1-17, October.
    5. Estevão, Cristina & Costa, Carlos & Fernandes, Cristina, 2019. "Competitiveness in the tourism sector: A bibliometric analysis," Journal of Tourism, Sustainability and Well-being, Cinturs - Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability and Well-being, University of Algarve, vol. 7(1), pages 4-21.
    6. Khoa Nguyen Duc & Nhu Y Dang Thi, 2020. "Economic Motives and Problems of Health Tourism in Asia Pacific," Czech Journal of Tourism, Sciendo, vol. 9(1), pages 22-40, December.
    7. Chen, Ping-ho & Lai, Ching-chong & Chu, Hsun, 2016. "Welfare effects of tourism-driven Dutch disease: The roles of international borrowings and factor intensity," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 381-394.
    8. Peiman Ghasemi & Amir Mehdiabadi & Cristi Spulbar & Ramona Birau, 2021. "Ranking of Sustainable Medical Tourism Destinations in Iran: An Integrated Approach Using Fuzzy SWARA-PROMETHEE," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(2), pages 1-32, January.
    9. Androutsou, Lorena & Metaxas, Theodore, 2018. "Measuring the effeciency of medical tourism industry in EU members states," MPRA Paper 92461, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item


    Medical tourism; Wage inequality; Welfare;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration


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