Veterinarian shortage areas: what determines the location of new graduates?

  • Stéphanie Truchet
  • Nicolas Mauhe
  • Marie Herve
Research Article


Over the past ten years, the number of veterinarians in rural areas has declined in many countries, giving rise to concerns about the geographical coverage of livestock health care. However, very little scientific work has been devoted to veterinarian shortage areas. This paper aims to shed light on this issue. Using econometric models based on count data, we test the effect of geographical and socio-economic characteristics of French living zones on the number of new veterinarians established in 2014. This work generated several findings. First, our study emphasises the importance of taking into account the heterogeneity of veterinarians. Indeed, the estimation results highly depend on the type of animals treated and gender. Second, we observed that the location of food animal practitioners depends on the characteristics of local demand (size and type of animal production) as well as on labour supply factors (natural or urban amenities, public service facilities). The results suggest that the risk of veterinarian shortages may be higher for areas specialised in animal production other than bovine (sheep, goats). They also suggest that maintaining public services may be a key issue for attracting food animal veterinarians in remote rural areas. Finally, our results show that veterinarians tend to cluster, which suggests that new veterinarians choose to establish themselves as employees or associates in already existing veterinary offices in order to share costs and minimise risks.


Veterinarian Location Rural areas Livestock Count data models 

JEL classifications

Q19 R32 



This work is part of the VeTerra project funded by the European Union, the French State and the Regional Council of Auvergne. The authors are grateful to Jacques Guérin and the National Order of French Veterinarians for providing them with access to the veterinarian database. We would also like to thank Nadia Guiffant for her assistance in the design of the figures and the three anonymous reviewers for their useful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stéphanie Truchet
    • 1
  • Nicolas Mauhe
    • 2
  • Marie Herve
    • 3
  1. 1.UMR Territoires, Agroparistech, Inra, Irstea, VetagrosupUniversité Clermont-AuvergneAubiereFrance
  2. 2.GREThA UMR CNRS 5113Université de BordeauxPessacFrance
  3. 3.CERFrance Horizon 63Clermont-FerrandFrance

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