The effect of A-site hole doping (Mg2+, Ca2+ or Ba2+) on the electronic and magnetic properties as well as the O vacancy formation and migration in perovskite LaCoO3 is studied using first-principles calculations. All three dopants are found to facilitate O vacancy formation. Substitution of La3+ with Ba2+/Mg2+ yields the lowest O vacancy formation energy for low/intermediate spin Co, implying that not only the structure but also the spin state of Co is a key parameter. Only for low spin Co the ionic radius is correlated with the O migration barrier. Enhanced migration for intermediate spin Co is ascribed to the availability of additional space at the transition state. © CopyrightEPLA, 2016.