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Keeping nurses at work: a duration analysis


  • Tor Helge Holmås

    (Department of Economics, University of Bergen, Norway)


A shortage of nurses is currently a problem in several countries, and an important question is therefore how one can increase the supply of nursing labour. In this paper, we focus on the issue of nurses leaving the public health sector by utilising a unique data set containing information on both the supply and demand side of the market. To describe the exit rate from the health sector we apply a semi-parametric hazard rate model. In the estimations, we correct for unobserved heterogeneity by both a parametric (Gamma) and a non-parametric approach. We find that both wages and working conditions have an impact on nurses' decision to quit. Furthermore, failing to correct for the fact that nurses' income partly consists of compensation for inconvenient working hours results in a considerable downward bias of the wage effect. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Tor Helge Holmås, 2002. "Keeping nurses at work: a duration analysis," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 493-503.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:11:y:2002:i:6:p:493-503 DOI: 10.1002/hec.747

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jenkins, Stephen P, 1995. "Easy Estimation Methods for Discrete-Time Duration Models," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 129-138, February.
    2. Paul van den Noord & Terje Hagen & Tor Iversen, 1998. "The Norwegian Health Care System," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 198, OECD Publishing.
    3. Dolton, Peter J & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 1995. "Leaving Teaching in the UK: A Duration Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(429), pages 431-444, March.
    4. Narendranathan, W & Stewart, Mark B, 1993. "How Does the Benefit Effect Vary as Unemployment Spells Lengthen?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(4), pages 361-381, Oct.-Dec..
    5. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
    6. Sophia Rabe-Hesketh & Andrew Pickles & Colin Taylor, 2000. "Generalized linear latent and mixed models," Stata Technical Bulletin, StataCorp LP, vol. 9(53).
    7. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-782, July.
    8. Shields, Michael A. & Ward, Melanie, 2001. "Improving nurse retention in the National Health Service in England: the impact of job satisfaction on intentions to quit," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 677-701, September.
    9. Dennis A. Ahlburg & Christine Brown Mahoney, 1996. "The Effect of Wages on the Retention of Nurses," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(s1), pages 126-129, April.
    10. Bollinger, Christopher R, 1998. "Measurement Error in the Current Population Survey: A Nonparametric Look," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(3), pages 576-594, July.
    11. Poterba, James M & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "Reporting Errors and Labor Market Dynamics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1319-1338, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Di Tommaso, M.L. & Strøm, S. & Sæther, E.M., 2009. "Nurses wanted: Is the job too harsh or is the wage too low?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 748-757, May.
    2. Carol Propper & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Can Pay Regulation Kill? Panel Data Evidence on the Effect of Labor Markets on Hospital Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(2), pages 222-273, April.
    3. Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2007. "Investigating the quitting decision of nurses: panel data evidence from the british national health service," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 57-73.
    4. Daniels, Frieda & Laporte, Audrey & Lemieux-Charles, Louise & Baumann, Andrea & Onate, Kanecy & Deber, Raisa, 2012. "Retaining nurses: The impact of Ontario's “70% Full-Time Commitment”," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 54-65.

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