New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2008‒01‒19
six papers chosen by

  1. Productivity in the National Health Service By Peter Hart
  2. Performance of the Dutch non-life insurance industry: competition, efficiency and focus By Jacob Bikker; Janko Gorter
  3. Is Inter-firm Labor Mobility a Channel of Knowledge Spillovers? Evidence from a Linked Employer-Employee Panel By Mika Maliranta; Pierre Mohnen; Petri Rouvinen
  4. A province-level analysis of economies of scale in Canadian food processing By Gervais, J.P.; Bonroy, O.; Couture, S.
  5. Land Titles and Rice Production in Vietnam By Katleen Van den Broeck; Carol Newman; Finn Tarp
  6. Accurate performance measure but meaningless ranking exercise? An analysis of the English school league tables. By Deborah Wilson; Anete Piebalga

  1. By: Peter Hart (Centre for Institutional Performance, Department of Economics, University of Reading Business School)
    Date: 2007
  2. By: Jacob Bikker; Janko Gorter
    Abstract: This paper investigates competition in the Dutch non-life insurance industry indirectly by measuring scale economies and X-inefficiency, assuming that strong competition would force insurance firms to exploit unused scale economies and to push down inefficiencies. We observe substantial economies of scale (on average 11%) that are larger for smaller firms. Despite considerable consolidation in the industry over the last decade, scale economies have increased, as the optimal scale has outgrown the actual one. Comparing estimates across aggregation levels, we find that scale economies are smaller for groups and lines of business than they are for firms. Besides scale, focus and organizational form are important cost determinants as well: generally, specialized insurers have lower costs and face greater economies of scale. Estimates of thick frontier efficiency point to huge cost differences across firms and within lines of business.Overall, our results suggest that there is a lack of competitive pressure in the Dutch non-life insurance industry.
    Keywords: Non-life insurance; economies of scale; market structure; concentration; competition; X-efficiency; total cost function; aggregation: insurance groups; firms and lines of business;
    JEL: D4 D61 G22 L1
    Date: 2008–01
  3. By: Mika Maliranta; Pierre Mohnen; Petri Rouvinen
    Abstract: ABSTRACT : An employer-employee panel is used to study whether the movement of workers across firms is a channel of unintended diffusion of R&D-generated knowledge. Somewhat surprisingly, hiring workers from others’ R&D labs to one’s own does not seem to be a significant spillover channel. Hiring workers previously in R&D to one’s non-R&D activities, however, boosts both productivity and profitability. This is interpreted as evidence that these workers transmit knowledge that can be readily copied and implemented without much additional R&D effort.
    Keywords: labor mobility, R&D spillovers, profitability, linked employer-employee data
    JEL: D62 J24 J62 L25 O31
    Date: 2008–01–11
  4. By: Gervais, J.P.; Bonroy, O.; Couture, S.
    Abstract: Cost functions of three Canadian food processing sectors (meat, bakery and dairy) are estimated using provincial data. A translog functional form is used and the concavity property of the cost function is imposed locally. The Morishima substitution elasticities and scale elasticities are computed for different provinces. Inference is carried out using asymptotic theory as well as bootstrap methods. The evidence suggests that there are significant substitution possibilities between the agricultural input and other production factors in the meat and bakerysectors. Scale elasticities suggest that increasing returns to scale are present in bakery and meat industries. To account for supply management in the dairy sector, separability between raw milk and other inputs was introduced. There exists evidence of increasing returns to scale at the industry level in the small producing provinces, but decreasing returns to scale in the two largest dairy provinces (Ontario and Quebec).
    JEL: D24 C30
    Date: 2007
  5. By: Katleen Van den Broeck (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); Carol Newman (Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin); Finn Tarp (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: In most of the empirical literature on land titling, the household is regarded as unitary, and land rights are found to have ambiguous effects on land allocation, investment and productivity. Using data from 12 provinces in Vietnam, we diversify land titles, and show in a household fixed effects analysis of plot level rice yields that land titles are indeed important. Only exclusively held titles have the expected positive effects, and the positive effect on yields is found in male headed households. Furthermore, a household level rice yield function reveals that exclusive user rights are inefficiency decreasing, while jointly held user rights have no efficiency effects. Finally, once the gender of the head of household is controlled for, exclusively held female titles have a greater positive effect on the efficiency of the household than that of male held titles.
    JEL: D13 O12 Q12
    Date: 2007–12
  6. By: Deborah Wilson; Anete Piebalga
    Abstract: Parental choice among schools in England is informed by annually published school performance (league) tables. The 2006 league tables included a measure of contextual value added (CVA) for the first time. By explicitly accounting for the characteristics of a school’s intake, CVA should provide a more accurate measure of the impact a school has on its pupils’ progress, i.e. on school effectiveness. In this paper we use UK government administrative data to replicate CVA and other key performance measures in order to investigate the extent to which the current league tables provide the information necessary to support parental choice on the basis of school effectiveness. We find that while CVA does provide a more accurate measure of school performance or effectiveness, school rankings based on CVA are largely meaningless: almost half of English secondary schools are indistinguishable from the national average.
    Keywords: education, performance measures, ranking
    JEL: I2 H4
    Date: 2008–01

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