The labour market for nursing: a review of the labour supply literature

E. Antonazzo, Anthony Scott, Diane Skatun, Robert Francis Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


The need to ensure adequate numbers of motivated health professionals is at the forefront of the modernisation of the UK NHS. The aim of this paper is to assess current understanding of the labour supply behaviour of nurses, and to propose an agenda for further research. In particular, the paper reviews American and British economics literature that focuses on empirical econometric studies based on the classical static labour supply model.

American research could be classified into first generation, second generation and recent empirical evidence. Advances in methods mirror those in the general labour economics literature, and include the use of limited dependent variable models and the treatment of sample selection issues. However, there is considerable variation in results, which depends on the methods used, particularly on the effect of wages.

Only one study was found that used UK data, although other studies examined the determinants of turnover, quit rates and job satisfaction. The agenda for further empirical research includes the analysis of discontinuities in the labour supply function, the relative importance of pecuniary and non-pecuniary job characteristics, and the application of dynamic and family labour supply models to nursing research. Such research is crucial to the development of evidence-based policies. Copyright (C) 2002 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-478
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Economics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2003


  • labour supply
  • nursing
  • job satisfaction
  • WORK
  • AGE


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