Objectives. This study examined the extreme medical unemployment and underemployment in the urban areas of Mexico. The conceptual and methodological approach may be relevant to many countries that have experienced substantial increases in the supply of physicians during the last decades. Methods. On the basis of 2 surveys carried out in 1986 and 1993, the study analyzed the performance of physicians in the labor market as a function of ascription variables (social origin and gender), achievement variables (quality of medical education and specialty studies), and contextual variables (educational generation). Results. The study reveals, despite some improvement, persistently high levels of open unemployment, qualitative underemployment (i.e., work in activities completely outside of medicine), and quantitative underemployment (i.e., work in medical activities but with very low levels of productivity and remuneration). The growing proportion of female doctors presents new challenges, because they are more likely than men to be unemployed and underemployed. Conclusions. While corrective policies can have a positive impact, it is clear that decisions regarding physician supply must be carefully considered, because they have long-lasting effects. An area deserving special attention is the improvement of professional opportunities for female doctors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health