Can Wages Explain the Shortage of Specialist Nurses in the Swedish Health Sector?

University essay from Lunds universitet/Nationalekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: There is a shortage of nurses in Sweden, especially specialist nurses. The magnitude of the problem is expected to increase in the near and distant future due to retiring nurses and an expected increase in the demand for health services due to an ageing population in Sweden. In this thesis it is examined whether the shortage of specialist nurses can be explained by the current economic incentives for general nurses to get specialized. It is done by performing econometric analysis on a data material covering all nurses employed by the county council located most south in Sweden, Region Skåne. It cannot be proved that economic incentives are negative and thus not too low. However, the regressions estimating specialist nurse wage premiums are likely to suffer from endogeneity and thus the estimated wage premiums are probably upward biased. Therefore it is concluded that the economic incentives might be negative even though it cannot be shown in this thesis. Nurses do react to changes in economic incentives which make it effective in reducing the shortage. Furthermore it is stated that additional factors are influential in a nurse’s decision to get specialized.

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