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Political cycles in physician employment: A case of Japanese local public hospitals

Reo Takaku and Shun-ichiro Bessho

Social Science & Medicine, 2018, vol. 216, issue C, 97-106

Abstract: A shortage of physicians in local public hospitals is often a heated political issue. When local politicians have the authority to intervene in the management of a public hospital, they may increase the employment of physicians during election years in order to alleviate the shortage. We test this hypothesis empirically using a census of city hospitals in Japan from 2002 to 2011 (N = 4583). Our results support the hypothesis that the number of physicians increases in election years. This effect is stronger in cities with a greater population of elderly residents. We also find that physicians tend to come from university hospitals in the same region. Overall, this paper provides direct evidence of political intervention on physician employment.

Keywords: Japan; Hospital; Physician employment; Political budget cycle (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.09.034

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