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Barefoot and footloose doctors: optimal resource allocation in developing countries with medical migration

Listed author(s):
  • John Roemer

    ()

  • Pedro Rosa Dias

    ()

In light of the shortage of healthcare professionals, many developing countries operate a de facto two-tiered system of healthcare provision, in which Community Health Workers (CHWs) supplement service provision by fully qualified physicians. CHWs are relatively inexpensive to train but can treat only a limited range of medical conditions. This paper explicitly models a two-tiered structure of healthcare provision and characterizes the optimal allocation of resources between training doctors and CHWs, and implications for population health outcomes. We analyze how medical migration alters resource allocation and population health outcomes, shifting resources towards training CHWs. In the model, migration stimulates health care provision at the lower end of the illness severity spectrum, improving health outcomes for those patients; sufferers of relatively severe medical conditions who can only be treated by doctors are made worse off. It is further shown that donor countries must be reimbursed by at least the training cost of emigrating physicians in order to restore aggregate population health to the pre-migration level. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00355-015-0916-1
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Article provided by Springer & The Society for Social Choice and Welfare in its journal Social Choice and Welfare.

Volume (Year): 46 (2016)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
Pages: 335-358

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Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:46:y:2016:i:2:p:335-358
DOI: 10.1007/s00355-015-0916-1
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  1. McCulloch, Rachel & Yellen, Janet L., 1975. "Consequences of a tax on the brain drain for unemployment and income inequality in less developed countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 249-264, September.
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  7. repec:dau:papers:123456789/11393 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Bhagwati, Jagdish & Hamada, Koichi, 1974. "The brain drain, international integration of markets for professionals and unemployment : A theoretical analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-42, April.
  9. Lisa Chauvet & Flore Gubert & Sandrine Mesplé-Somps, 2013. "Aid, Remittances, Medical Brain Drain and Child Mortality: Evidence Using Inter and Intra-Country Data," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(6), pages 801-818, June.
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  11. Rodriguez, Carlos Alfredo, 1975. "Brain drain and economic growth : A dynamic model," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 223-247, September.
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