New Economics Papers
on Efficiency and Productivity
Issue of 2014‒03‒15
twelve papers chosen by

  1. Productivity in services twenty years on. A review of conceptual and measurement issues and a way forward By Nicola Grassano; Maria Savona
  2. Integration, Productivity and Technological Spillovers: Evidence for Eurozone Banking Industries By Barbara Casu; Alessandra Ferrari; Claudia Girardone; John O.S. Wilson
  3. Parenthood and Productivity of Highly Skilled Labor: Evidence from the Groves of Academe By Matthias Krapf; Heinrich W. Ursprung; Christian Zimmermann
  4. Strategy in practice: a quantitative approach to target setting By Fafaliou, Irene; Zervopoulos, Panagiotis
  6. How students' exogenous characteristics affect faculties’ inefficiency. A heteroscedastic stochastic frontier approach By Zotti, Roberto; Barra, Cristian
  7. Direct democracy and local government efficiency By Asatryan, Zareh; De Witte, Kristof
  8. Particulate Pollution and the Productivity of Pear Packers By Tom Chang; Joshua Graff Zivin; Tal Gross; Matthew Neidell
  9. Assessing the supply of the Maltese economy using a production function approach By Grech, Aaron George; Micallef, Brian
  10. Wage growth, landholding, and mechanization in agriculture : evidence from Indonesia By Yamauchi, Futoshi
  11. Natural Disasters and the Birth, Life and Death of Plants: The Case of the Kobe Earthquake By Matthew A. Cole; Robert J R Elliott; Toshihiro Okubo; Eric Strobl
  12. Lift ticket prices and quality in French ski resorts: Insights from a non-parametric analysis By Francois-Charles Wolff

  1. By: Nicola Grassano (SPRU, University of Sussex, UK); Maria Savona (SPRU, University of Sussex, UK)
    Keywords: Services; Productivity; Service output measurement; US-EU productivity gap
    Date: 2014–01
  2. By: Barbara Casu (Cass Business School, City University, London); Alessandra Ferrari (Department of Economics, University of Reading); Claudia Girardone (Essex Business School, University of Essex); John O.S. Wilson (School of Management, University of St Andrews)
    Abstract: In the context of the debate on increased integration of Eurozone banking markets, this paper evaluates the impact of the Single Market on bank productivity and assesses the cross-border benefits of integration in terms of technological spillovers. We utilise a parametric metafrontier Divisia index to estimate productivity change and identify technological gaps. We then assess the extent to which productivity converges within and across banking industries as a result of technological spillovers. Our results suggest that bank productivity growth has occurred for most Eurozone countries up to the onset of the financial crisis, but has since reversed. Technological spillovers do exist, and have led to progression toward the best technology. However, convergence is not complete and significant long run differences in productivity persist. Improvements in technology are increasingly driven by a smaller number of banks and concentrated in fewer banking industries.
    Keywords: European banking, financial integration, convergence, productivity growth
    JEL: G21 D24
    Date: 2014–02–22
  3. By: Matthias Krapf (University of Zurich, Switzerland); Heinrich W. Ursprung (University of Konstanz, Germany); Christian Zimmermann (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, USA)
    Abstract: We examine the effect of pregnancy and parenthood on the research productivity of academic economists. Combining the survey responses of nearly 10,000 economists with their publication records as documented in their RePEc accounts, we do not find that motherhood is associated with low research productivity. Nor do we find a statistically significant unconditional effect of a first child on research productivity. Conditional difference-in-differences estimates, however, suggest that the effect of parenthood on research productivity is negative for unmarried women and positive for untenured men. Moreover, becoming a mother before 30 years of age appears to have a detrimental effect on research productivity.
    Keywords: Fertility, research productivity, gender gap, research productivity, life cycle
    JEL: J13 I23 J24
    Date: 2014–01
  4. By: Fafaliou, Irene; Zervopoulos, Panagiotis
    Abstract: An extended quality-driven efficiency-adjusted data envelopment analysis (QE-DEA) method is developed to measure the performance of service units. Performance is measured based on efficiency and users’ satisfaction. The extended QE-DEA method identifies as benchmarks only units that are qualified both in efficiency and satisfaction and ensures that all of the units will be qualified in both dimensions of performance when their performance becomes maximal. If there are efficient units which fail to provide satisfactory services, an adjustment procedure is applied to their outputs before the assessment of the units’ performance. Optimal output targets that lead every unit to maximal performance are defined by the extended QE-DEA. The presented expression relaxes the main assumption of the original QE-DEA method that is the fixed weights between original and adjusted outputs. The extended expression is applied to fifty public one-stop shops.
    Keywords: Data envelopment analysis; performance management; efficiency; satisfaction; target setting; trade-off
    JEL: C6 C61 M2
    Date: 2014–01–04
    Date: 2014
  6. By: Zotti, Roberto; Barra, Cristian
    Abstract: By using a heteroscedastic stochastic frontier model, this paper focuses on how students' exogenous characteristics (such as personal demographic information, pre-enrollment educational background and household economic status) affect faculties’ inefficiency. Using individual data on freshmen enrolled at a public owned university in Italy over the 2002-2008 period, we focus both on the direction of this influence on technical inefficiency and on the magnitude of the related partial effects. A measure of R2 has also been calculated in order to evaluate the overall explanatory power of the exogenous variables used. The empirical evidence reveals the validity of the heteroscedastic assumption, giving credit to the use of some students’ individual characteristics according to which the inefficiency is allowed to change. Moreover, the estimates suggest that the university could improve the students’ performances by investing in labour inputs.
    Keywords: Stochastic frontier analysis; Technical inefficiency estimates; Heteroscedasticity; Higher education.
    JEL: C14 C67 I21 I23
    Date: 2014–02
  7. By: Asatryan, Zareh; De Witte, Kristof
    Abstract: This paper studies the role of direct democracy in ensuring efficient and cost effective provision of goods and services in the public sector. The sample consists of the population of municipalities in the German State of Bavaria, where in the mid-1990s considerable direct democratic reforms granted citizens with wide opportunities to directly participate in local affairs through binding initiatives. Using information on the municipal resources and the municipal provision of public goods, and applying a fully non-parametric approach to estimate local government overall efficiency, the analysis shows that more direct democratic activity is associated with higher government efficiency. This result suggests that more inclusive governance through direct decision-making mechanisms may induce more accountable and less inefficient governments. --
    Keywords: Direct democracy,Public sector efficiency,Conditional efficiency
    JEL: C14 D7 H7
    Date: 2014
  8. By: Tom Chang; Joshua Graff Zivin; Tal Gross; Matthew Neidell
    Abstract: We study the effect of outdoor air pollution on the productivity of indoor workers at a pear-packing factory. We focus on fine particulate matter (PM2.5), a harmful pollutant that easily penetrates indoor settings. We find that an increase in PM2.5 outdoors leads to a statistically and economically significant decrease in packing speeds inside the factory, with effects arising at levels well below current air quality standards. In contrast, we find little effect of PM2.5 on hours worked or the decision to work, and little effect of pollutants that do not travel indoors, such as ozone. This effect of outdoor pollution on the productivity of indoor workers suggests a thus far overlooked consequence of pollution. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that nationwide reductions in PM2.5 from 1999 to 2008 generated $19.5 billion in labor cost savings, which is roughly one-third of the total welfare benefits associated with this change.
    JEL: J22 J24 J43 Q51 Q53
    Date: 2014–02
  9. By: Grech, Aaron George; Micallef, Brian
    Abstract: After outlining the various methods used to estimate potential output, this article presents estimates for Malta derived from one of the most commonly used methods, i.e. the production function approach. Given the uncertainty surrounding these kinds of estimates, they are compared with those made for Malta by other institutions using different methods. Based on this analysis and on a cross-country comparison, a number of policy recommendations and final observations are made.
    Keywords: potential output, production function, output gap, business cycle, Malta
    JEL: E23 E32
    Date: 2014–02
  10. By: Yamauchi, Futoshi
    Abstract: This paper uses farm panel data from Indonesia to examine dynamic patterns of land use, capital investments, and wages in agriculture. The empirical analysis shows that an increase in real wages has induced the substitution of labor by machines among relatively large farmers. Large farmers tend to increase the scale of operation by renting in more land when real wages increase. Machines and land are complementary if the scale of operation is greater than a threshold size. In contrast, such a dynamic change was not observed among relatively small holders, which implies a divergence in the movement of the production frontier between Java and off-Java regions given that the majority of small farmers are concentrated in Java.
    Keywords: Rural Development Knowledge&Information Systems,Regional Economic Development,Rural Poverty Reduction,Labor Policies,Crops and Crop Management Systems
    Date: 2014–02–01
  11. By: Matthew A. Cole; Robert J R Elliott; Toshihiro Okubo; Eric Strobl
    Abstract: In recent years, natural disasters from Hurricane Katrina to the Fukushima earthquake have grabbed the attention of the public, policymakers and academics. In this paper we contribute to this relatively new literature and examine the impact of the 1995 Kobe earthquake on the survival of manufacturing plants, their post-earthquake economic performance, and the birth of new plants. Using geo-coded plant location and unique building-level surveys we are able to identify for the first time the actual damage to the building where each plant was located at the time of the earthquake. Including plant and building-characteristics as well as district-level variables to control for spatial dependencies, our results show that damaged plants were considerably more likely to fail than undamaged plants and that this effect persisted for up to seven years. Further analysis shows that surviving plants experienced a reduction in total employment and value added as a result of earthquake damage. However, we also find some evidence of creative destruction with the average surviving plant experiencing a time limited increase in productivity following the earthquake. On average, earthquake damage tended to deter plant births, although severe damage in an area appears to have acted as a stimulus to births.
    Keywords: Earthquake, natural disaster, survival analysis, productivity
    JEL: Q54 R10 R12 D22 L10 L25 M13 C01
    Date: 2014–02–25
  12. By: Francois-Charles Wolff (LEMNA - Laboratoire d'économie et de management de Nantes Atlantique - Université de Nantes : EA4272)
    Abstract: Using a unique data set with 168 ski resorts located in France, this paper investigates the relationship between lift ticket prices and supply-related characteristics of ski resorts. A non-parametric analysis combined with a principal component analysis is used to identify the set of efficient ski resorts, defined as those where the lift ticket price is the cheapest for a given level of quality. Results show that the average inefficiency per lift ticket price is less than 1.5 euros for resorts located in the Pyrenees and the Southern Alps. The average inefficiency is three times higher for ski resorts located in the Northern Alps, which is explained by the presence of large connected ski areas offering many more runs for a small surchage.
    Keywords: data envelopment analysis, free disposal hull model, quality, lift ticket price, ski resorts
    Date: 2014–02–28

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