La pénurie des infirmières au Canada : le rôle des mécanismes de fixation des salaires

Authors: Ariste, Ruolz
Advisor: Béjaoui, Ali
Abstract: Several studies and media sources report a shortage of labour in the nursing profession and indicate that the situation is not likely to improve as demand for nursing services can only increase due to the aging of the population. Given this shortage, it could be assumed that, in a perspective of maximizing wage income, employed nurses would work more hours than employees in other sectors of the economy, if not at least have the same work intensity . Yet, that does not seem to be the case. The first article of this thesis aims to shed light on the nursing labor market by seeking to understand the nature and scope of the shortage. It discusses the efficiency and distortions of the nurses' labor market via the traditional dimensions of supply, demand, wages and the various institutions involved. One of the main findings of this study is that there are different concepts of shortage. It is important to identify the type to better target how to intervene in terms of public policies. Given the shortage of nurses and the fact that the latter did not work more hours per week than similar workers in other sectors of the economy, this implies that the goal of maximizing income can be pursued by seeking higher rates of pay. With a high unionization rate, such a strategy is plausible. However, the literature also suggests that nurses face a labor market characterized by monopsony (or oligopsony), that is, they offer their work in a single hospital (or a few hospitals) in a given region. In such a context, these hospitals may offer a lower wage than we would have seen in a competitive market; that is hourly wages are expected to be lower in hospitals with high market concentration; which can be source of regional shortage. The second article attempts to verify this assumption using Statistics Canada's Labor Force Survey (LFS) microdata files for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012. The method used is multilevel analysis. Empirical results do not support the monopsony model in explaining nursing shortage: there is no statistically significant relationship between nurse wages and hospital market share. This suggests that the explanation for the nursing shortage needs to be explored elsewhere. Hospitals (as employers) do not discriminate on the basis of market share, despite their small numbers. This suggests that the strong union could play an offsetting role in this market and flatten the wage structure. This situation is typical of a centralized wage setting system (where the wage determination process occurs at the sector level rather than at the enterprise level). Such a system, which is supposedly predominant in Canada, is in line with the principle of equity, but it could be at the origin of the shortage if it does not adjust to regional realities. It can discourage competition, hinder the efficient allocation of resources in certain regions and create a regional shortage. The wage-setting mechanism and the regional comparisons in some provinces are the objective of the third article. The latter takes a closer look at how institutions and stakeholders are organized to come up with collective agreements for nurses in Canada. The theory of Standardized Regional Wage Differentials (SRWD) in a competitive market is the framework used to analyze this issue and to test the wage uniformity hypothesis. The results indicate that the process of wage setting for nurses is rather centralized, but the wage structure cannot be described as flat or uniform. This means that there are regional differences in wages, but apparently they are not large enough to halt the labor shortage. For example, Census Metropolitan Areas such as Montreal and Toronto have SRWD below their respective provincial average. Keywords: Wages, Nurses, Shortage, Monopsony, Human Capital, Institutions, Quantitative Research, Multilevel Model, Canada, Provinces, Regions, Hospitals, Collective Agreement, Pay Gap.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 2 October 2019
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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