New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2005‒02‒01
three papers chosen by

  1. Information Technology and Rural Development in India By Nirvikar Singh
  2. Productivity, Efficiency and Economic Growth: East Asia and the Rest of the World By Gaofeng Han; Kaliappa Kalirajan; Nirvikar Singh
  3. Nonparametric tests of optimizing behavior in public service provision: Methodology and an application to local safety By Cherchye L.; De Borger B.; Van Puyenbroeck T.

  1. By: Nirvikar Singh (University of California, Santa Cruz)
    Abstract: How can information technology (IT) contribute to rural development? What are the channels through which impacts can be realized, and what are the practical means for realizing potential benefits? This paper examines several ongoing projects that aim to provide IT-based services to rural populations in India. These projects are distinguished by the goal of commercial sustainability, which supports scalability and, therefore, more widespread benefits. The analysis highlights the common building blocks required for successful implementation, and the relative strengths and weaknesses of different approaches.
    Keywords: India, information technology, Internet, rural development,
    Date: 2004–03–01
  2. By: Gaofeng Han (University of California Santa Cruz); Kaliappa Kalirajan (Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development, Tokyo.); Nirvikar Singh (University of California, Santa Cruz)
    Abstract: This study compares the sources of growth in East Asia with the rest of the world, using a methodology that allows one to decompose total factor productivity (TFP) growth into technical efficiency changes (catching up) and technological progress. It applies a varying coefficients frontier production function model to aggregate data for the period 1970-1990, for a sample of 45 developed and developing countries. Our results are consistent with the view that East Asian economies were not outliers in terms of TFP growth. Of the high-performing East Asian economies, our methodology identifies South Korea as having the highest TFP growth, followed by Singapore, Taiwan and Japan. Our methodology also allows us to separately estimate technical efficiency change, which is a component of TFP growth, and we find that, in general, the estimated technical efficiency of the high-performing East Asian economies was not out of line with the rest of the world.
    Keywords: Total factor productivity growth, technical efficiency change, technical progress, sources of growth, varying coefficients frontier production functions,
    Date: 2003–04–01
  3. By: Cherchye L.; De Borger B.; Van Puyenbroeck T.
    Abstract: We develop a positive non-parametric model of public sector production that allows us to test whether an implicit procedure of cost minimization at shadow prices can rationalize the outcomes of public sector activities. The basic model focuses on multiple C-outputs and does not imply any explicit or implicit assumption regarding the trade-offs between the different inputs (in terms of relative shadow prices) or outputs (in terms of relative valuation). The proposed methodology is applied to a cross-section sample of 546 Belgian municipal police forces. Drawing on detailed task-allocation data and controlling, among others, for the presence of state police forces, the cost minimization hypothesis is found to provide a good fit of the data. Imposing additional structure on output valuation, derived from available ordinal information, yields equally convincing goodness-of-fit results. By contrast, we find that aggregating the labor input over task specializations, a common practice in efficiency assessments of police departments, entails a significantly worse fit of the data.
    Date: 2005–01

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