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The migration of doctors and nurses from South Pacific Island Nations

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  • Brown, Richard P. C.
  • Connell, John

Abstract

Little is known of the structure of the international migration of skilled health professionals. Accelerated migration of doctors and nurses from the Pacific island states of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga to the Pacific periphery is part of the globalization of health care. The findings from a recent survey of 251 doctors and nurses from the three island countries are reported here. Key determinants of both present migration status and future migration intentions were analyzed using econometric methods. Nurses' and doctors' propensities to migrate are influenced by both income and non-income factors, including ownership of businesses and houses. Migrants also tend to have more close relatives overseas, to have trained there, and so experienced superior working conditions. Migration propensities vary between countries, and between nurses and doctors within countries. Tongan nurses have a higher propensity to migrate, mainly because of greater relative earnings differentials, but are also more likely to return home. The role of kinship ties, relative income differentials and working conditions is evident in other developing country contexts. Remittances and return migration, alongside business investment, bring some benefits to compensate for the skill drain. National development policies should focus on encouraging return migration, alongside retention and recruitment, but are unlikely to prevent out migration.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, Richard P. C. & Connell, John, 2004. "The migration of doctors and nurses from South Pacific Island Nations," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(11), pages 2193-2210, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:58:y:2004:i:11:p:2193-2210
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    Cited by:

    1. Dr. Sukhan Jackson & Kamalakanthan, Abhayaprada, 2006. "The Supply of Doctors in Australia: Is There A Shortage?," Discussion Papers Series 341, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    2. Connell, John, 2014. "The two cultures of health worker migration: A Pacific perspective," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 73-81.
    3. Akl, Elie A. & Maroun, Nancy & Major, Stella & Afif, Claude & Chahoud, Bechara & Choucair, Jacques & Sakr, Mazen & Schünemann, Holger J., 2007. "Why are you draining your brain? Factors underlying decisions of graduating Lebanese medical students to migrate," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(6), pages 1278-1284, March.
    4. Social Policy and Population Section, Social Development Division, ESCAP., 2011. "Asia-Pacific Population Journal Volume 26, No. 4," Asia-Pacific Population Journal, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), pages 1-84.
    5. Williams, Allan M. & Baláz, Vladimir, 2008. "International return mobility, learning and knowledge transfer: A case study of Slovak doctors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(11), pages 1924-1933, December.
    6. Simon Feeny & Mark Rogers, 2008. "Public sector efficiency, foreign aid and small island developing states," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 526-546.
    7. Phyllis Tharenou, 2010. "Women’s Self-Initiated Expatriation as a Career Option and Its Ethical Issues," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, pages 73-88.
    8. Pavel Yakovlev & Tanner Steinkopf, 2014. "Can Economic Freedom Cure Medical Brain Drain?," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 29(Fall 2014), pages 97-117.
    9. Richard Brown & Jørgen Carling & Sonja Fransen & Melissa Siegel, 2014. "Measuring remittances through surveys," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 31(41), pages 1243-1274, November.
    10. Jan-Jan Soon, 2008. "The determinants of international students' return intention," Working Papers 0806, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2008.
    11. Legido-Quigley, Helena & Saliba, Vanessa & McKee, Martin, 2015. "Exploring the experiences of EU qualified doctors working in the United Kingdom: A qualitative study," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 119(4), pages 494-502.

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