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Access to Health Care and Rural Worker Productivity

AAEA member research published in AEPP

The COVID pandemic has not only shined a bright spotlight on the need for access to quality health care across the rural-urban spectrum, but it has also threatened the financial sustainability of many rural health care providers.  Many rural hospitals and other health care providers were forces to halt many services, such as elective and preventative care procedures, which significantly reduced revenues.  For many rural health care providers, this reduction in revenues elevated their levels of fiscal stress.  While federal aids helped offset some of this COVID induced fiscal stress, for many rural health care providers the aid was insufficient. 

In the research published in AEPP “Access to Health Care and Rural Worker Productivity” Steven Deller from the University of Wisconsin-Madison asks how access to health care impacts regional economic activity as measured by worker productivity.

Deller says, “Results suggest that a 1% increase in the number of physicians per 100,000 persons in the region could result in an increase in earnings per worker of between $68.21 and $81.10 annually, depending on the measure of health. The increase for metro areas, however, is nearly 10 times higher than for nonmetro areas.”

If you are interested in setting up an interview, please contact Allison Ware in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices and the online open access publication series Applied Economics Teaching Resources. To learn more, visit

Contact: Allison Ware
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(414) 918-3190