Competition, Professional Synergism, and the Geographic Distribution of Rural Physicians

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Abstract

This study provides a theoretical and empirical investigation of competition and synergism among physicians in rural areas. The results show that rural primary care physicians cluster together rather than distribute themselves evenly. This suggests that public policy makers and rural communities must take an active role to ensure provider availability in all rural areas. There is less clustering among subspecialists. The results also reveal a disturbing negative relationship between young children and physician availability in rural areas. Finally, the results provide strong evidence that the relationship between rural physicians and hospitals is synergistic.

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