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Variations in labor supply between female and male hospital physicians: Results from a modern welfare state

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  • Johannessen, Karl-Arne
  • Hagen, Terje P.

Abstract

In industrialized countries, female physicians have up to 10h lower labor supply a week than male physicians. At the same time, the number of female physicians is increasing. The question analyzed in this article is whether these differences in labor supply for female and male hospital physicians persist in a modern welfare society, such as Norway, where comprehensive welfare reforms aim to reduce gender inequality are implemented. Information on weekly working hours from all hospital physicians in Norway during the period 2001–2007 was merged with economic variables (wages, income from other sources, net personal dept), demographic variables (age, sex, marital status, children born in the year, number of children), managerial positions and variables describing the hospital, specialty and time (year). The estimation method employed both random and fixed-effects models. Labor supply for women was 10–11 percent or 4–4.5h per week lower than among men. The effects of children diverged strongly between the sexes. For instance, childbirth in a given year reduced the supply of working hours by women by approximately 80% but had no effects for men. After controlling for children and other factors, female physicians worked some 3–4% or 1–1.5 fewer hours than comparable male physicians. Although significant, variation in labor supply between female and male physicians is much lower in Norway then in other advanced industrialized countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Johannessen, Karl-Arne & Hagen, Terje P., 2012. "Variations in labor supply between female and male hospital physicians: Results from a modern welfare state," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 74-82.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:107:y:2012:i:1:p:74-82
    DOI: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2012.05.009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Badi H. Baltagi & Espen Bratberg & Tor Helge Holmås, 2005. "A panel data study of physicians' labor supply: the case of Norway," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(10), pages 1035-1045.
    2. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
    3. Rizzo, John A. & Blumenthal, David, 1994. "Physician labor supply: Do income effects matter?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 433-453.
    4. Noether, Monica, 1986. "The Growing Supply of Physicians: Has the Market Become More Competitive?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(4), pages 503-537, October.
    5. Heckman, James J. & Macurdy, Thomas E., 1986. "Labor econometrics," Handbook of Econometrics,in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 32, pages 1917-1977 Elsevier.
    6. Hagen, Terje P. & Kaarboe, Oddvar M., 2006. "The Norwegian hospital reform of 2002: Central government takes over ownership of public hospitals," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 320-333, May.
    7. Gjerberg, Elisabeth, 2003. "Women doctors in Norway: the challenging balance between career and family life," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(7), pages 1327-1341, October.
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