Cover: The Geographic Distribution of Physicians

The Geographic Distribution of Physicians

Is the Conventional Wisdom Correct?

Published 1982

by Joseph P. Newhouse, Albert P. Williams, Bruce W. Bennett, William B. Schwartz


Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 1.2 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback61 pages $20.00

Throughout most of the 1970s, federal health manpower policy assumed that physicians would not move into smaller towns as their numbers increased. In this report, the authors show that a number of predictions of standard location theory are consistent with the data on physician location. Empirically, they show that, controlling for (self-designated) specialty, physicians have moved into previously unserved towns as their numbers have increased. Contrary to conventional wisdom, physicians in cities of one million or more earn less per hour in real terms than do their colleagues in smaller cities and towns, although the difference is not great. The authors suggest that the premise underlying the notion of designating medically underserved areas — that physicians will not go to certain areas where they are in demand — is in error.

This report is part of the RAND report series. The report was a product of RAND from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.