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09.10.2015 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 6/2016

The European Journal of Health Economics 6/2016

Pay or conditions? The role of workplace characteristics in nurses’ labor supply

The European Journal of Health Economics > Ausgabe 6/2016
Barbara Eberth, Robert F. Elliott, Diane Skåtun
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s10198-015-0733-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


Empirically rigorous studies of nursing labor supply have to date relied on extant secondary data and focused almost exclusively on the role of pay. Yet the conditions under which nurses work and the timing and convenience of the hours they work are also important determinants of labor supply. Where there are national pay structures and pay structures are relatively inflexible, as in nursing in European countries, these factors become more important. One of the principal ways in which employers can improve the relative attractiveness of nursing jobs is by changing these other conditions of employment. This study uses new primary data to estimate an extended model of nursing labor supply. It is the first to explore whether and how measures of non-pecuniary workplace characteristics and observed individual (worker) heterogeneity over non–pecuniary job aspects impact estimates of the elasticity of hours with respect to wages. Our results have implications for the future sustainability of an adequately sized nurse workforce and patient care especially at a time when European healthcare systems are confronted with severe financial pressures that have resulted in squeezes in levels of healthcare funding.

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