New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2013‒11‒14
six papers chosen by

  1. Benchmarking container port technical efficiency in Latin America and the Caribbean : a stochastic frontier analysis By Sarriera, Javier Morales; Araya, Gonzalo; Serebrisky, Tomas; Briceno-Garmendía, Cecilia; Schwartz, Jordan
  2. Modelling and measuring business risk and the resiliency of retail banks By Chaffai, Mohamed; Dietsch, Michel
  3. Measurement of the “Underlying energy efficiency” in Chinese provinces By Massimo Filippini; Lin Zhang
  4. Benchmarking for Routines and Organizational Knowledge By Mircea Epure
  5. Which teaching practices improve student performance on high-stakes exams? Evidence from Russia By Andrey Zakharov; Martin Carnoy; Prashant Loyalka
  6. A Comparison of GDP growth of European countries during 2008-2012 period from regional and other perspectives By Mazurek, Jiri

  1. By: Sarriera, Javier Morales; Araya, Gonzalo; Serebrisky, Tomas; Briceno-Garmendía, Cecilia; Schwartz, Jordan
    Abstract: This paper presents a technical efficiency analysis of container ports in Latin America and the Caribbean using an input-oriented stochastic frontier model. A 10-year panel is employed with data on container throughput, port terminal area, length of berths, and number of cranes available in 67 ports. The model has three innovations with respect to the available literature: (i) it treats ship-to-shore gantry cranes and mobile cranes separately, in order to account for the higher productivity of the former; (ii) a binary variable is introduced for ports using ships'cranes, treated as an additional source of port productivity; and (iii) a binary variable is used for ports operating as transshipment hubs. The associated parameters are highly significant in the production function. The results show an improvement in the average technical efficiency of ports in the Latin America and the Caribbean region from 36 percent to 50 percent between 1999 and 2009; the best-performing port in 2009 achieved a technical efficiency of 94 percent with respect to the frontier. The paper also studies possible determinants of port technical efficiency, such as ownership, corruption, terminal purpose, income per capita, and location. The results reveal positive, but weak, associations between technical efficiency with landlord ports and with lower corruption levels; stronger results are observed between technical efficiency with specialized container terminals and with average income.
    Keywords: Ports&Waterways,Transport Economics Policy&Planning,Transport and Trade Logistics,Common Carriers Industry,Economic Theory&Research
    Date: 2013–10–01
  2. By: Chaffai, Mohamed; Dietsch, Michel
    Abstract: The recent banking crisis has revealed the existence of strong resiliency factors in the retail banking business model. On average, retail banks suffered less than other financial institutions from unexpected market changes. This paper proposes a new methodology to measure retail banks' business risk, which is defined as the risk of adverse and unexpected changes in banks' profits coming from sudden changes in the banks' activities. This methodology is based on the efficiency frontier methodology, and, more specifically, on the duality property between the directional distance function and the profitfunction. Using the distance function to compute banks' profitability, we take the distance to the frontier of best practices as a measure of profit inefficiency, ie of unexpected losses related to underperformance. In this approach, shifts in the efficiency frontier induced by adverse shocks to banks' volumes serve as a measure of business risk. This measure of profit volatility allows a measurement to be made of the impact of volume changes on banks' profits. This method is applied to a database containing halfyearly regulatory accounting reports over the 1993-2011 period for more than 90 French banks running a retail banking business model. Our results verify a low level of business risk in retail banking, thus confirming the resiliency of the retail banks' business model. --
    Keywords: Bank solvency,Retail Banking,Business Risk,Efficiency Analysis,Profit Frontier
    JEL: G21 D24
    Date: 2013
  3. By: Massimo Filippini (ETH Zurich, Switzerland); Lin Zhang (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
    Abstract: China is one of the largest consumers of energy globally. The country also emits some of the highest levels of CO2 globally. In 2009, 18% of the world’s total energy was consumed in China and the growth rate of energy consumption in China is 6.4% per year. In recent years, the Chinese government decided to introduce several energy policy instruments to promote energy efficiency. For instance, reduction targets for the level of energy intensity have been defined for provinces in China. However, energy intensity is not an accurate proxy for energy efficiency because changes in energy intensity are a function of changes in several socioeconomic factors. For this reason, in this paper we present an empirical analysis on the measurement of the persistent and transient “underlying energy efficiency” of Chinese provinces. For this purpose, a log-log aggregate energy demand frontier model is estimated by employing data on 29 provinces observed over the period 1996 to 2008. Several econometric model specifications for panel data are used: the random effects model and the true random effects model along with other versions of these models. Our analysis shows that energy intensity cannot measure accurately the level of efficiency in the use of energy in Chinese provinces. Further, our empirical analysis shows that the average value of the persistent “underlying energy efficiency” is around 0.78 whereas the average value of the transient “underlying energy efficiency” is approximately 0.93.
    Keywords: Chinese energy demand; Stochastic frontier analysis: Underlying energy efficiency; Energy intensity.
    JEL: D D2 Q Q4 Q5
    Date: 2013–10
  4. By: Mircea Epure
    Abstract: We use best practice benchmarking rationales to propose a dynamic research design that accounts for the endogenous components of across-firms heterogeneous routines to study changes in performance and their link to organizational knowledge investments. We thus contribute to the operationalization of management theoretical frameworks based on resources and routines. The research design employs frontier measures that provide industry-level benchmarking in organizational settings, and proposes some new indicators for firm-level strategic benchmarking. A profit-oriented analysis of the U.S. technology industry during 2000-2011 illustrates the usefulness of our design. Findings reveal that industry revival following economic distress comes along with wider gaps between best and worst performers. Second stage analyses show that increasing intangibles stocks is positively associated with fixed target benchmarking, while enhancing R&D spending is linked to local frontier progress. The discussion develops managerial interpretations of the benchmarking measures that are suitable for control mechanisms and reward systems.
    Keywords: benchmarking, routines, organizational knowledge, frontier analysis, managerial accounting
    JEL: M1 M4 M41 D2 M0
    Date: 2013–10
  5. By: Andrey Zakharov (National Research University Higher School of Economics. International Laboratory for Educational Policy Research. Deputy Head.); Martin Carnoy (Stanford University. Vida Jacks Professor of Education.); Prashant Loyalka (Stanford University. Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Center Research Fellow.)
    Abstract: This study examines the relationship between teaching practices aimed at raising student performance on a high stakes college entrance examination—the Russian Unified State Exam (USE) — and student performance on that test. The study uses data from a school/classroom survey of almost 3,000 students conducted in 2010 in three Russian regions. The analysis employs a student fixed effects method that estimates the impact of teaching practices used by students’ mathematics and Russian language teachers on students’ exam results. To test for possible heterogeneous effects of practices in different academic tracks, the study estimates the practices’ effect on USE scores for students in advanced and basic level tracks. The study finds that the only strategy with positive effects on test outcomes is greater amounts of subject-specific homework geared to different types of test items, and that the most effective type of homework differs across tracks
    Keywords: teaching practices, curriculum, student achievement, selection bias, student fixed effect, high-stakes examinations
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2013
  6. By: Mazurek, Jiri
    Abstract: The aim of the article is to compare total real GDP growth of European countries from the 3rd quarter of 2008 to the 3rd quarter of 2012, that is the period from the start of the Great recession in European Union to the present day. This period is characterized by a predominant economic stagnation or an economic recession, which occurred in the majority of examined European countries. Countries were divided into groups based on the following grounds: whether they are geographically close the economic center (Germany) or periphery, whether they are in Eurozone or not, whether they are (new) EU members or not, etc. The main findings from the comparisons are as follows: 1. European countries close to the economic center (Germany and its neighbours) experienced positive economic growth during examined period on average, while countries from European periphery experienced negative economic growth on average during the same period. This difference was found statistically significant at α = 0.01 level. 2. Differences between Eurozone and non-Eurozone and differences between old and new EU members were found statistically insignificant. 3. Among European regions with the most negative real total GDP growth were countries from Baltics, Balkans, Southern Europe (Italy, Portugal) and Iceland. The most successfull countries with the most positive real total GDP growth were countries of central Europe (Poland, Slovakia, Germany, Switzerland, Austria) and Northern Europe (Sweden and Norway).
    Keywords: economic growth, European union, international economics, European regions.
    JEL: F43 F44 O47 O57 R11
    Date: 2013–11–03

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