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Big and beautiful? On non-parametrically measuring scale economies in non-convex technologies

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  • Kristof Witte

    ()

  • Rui Marques

    ()

Abstract

Knowledge on the scale economies drives the incentives of regulators, governments and individual utilities to scale-up or scale-down the scale of operations. This paper considers the returns to scale (RTS) in non-convex frontier models. In particular, we evaluate RTS assumptions in a Free Disposal Hull model, which accounts for uncertainty and heterogeneity in the sample. Additionally, we provide a three-step framework to empirically analyze the existence and extent of RTS in real world applications. In a first step, the presence of scale (and scope) economies is verified. Secondly, RTS for individual observations are examined while in a third step we derive the optimal scale for a sector as a whole. The framework is applied to the Portuguese drinking water sector where we find the optimal scale to be situated around 7 to 10 million m3.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11123-010-0191-1
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Productivity Analysis.

Volume (Year): 35 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 213-226

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jproda:v:35:y:2011:i:3:p:213-226

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100296

Related research

Keywords: Free Disposal Hull; Economies of scale; Optimal size; Water sector; C14; L33; L51; L95;

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  1. KERSTENS, Kristiaan & VANDEN EECKAUT, Philippe, 1997. "Estimating returns to scale using nonparametric deterministic technologies : a new method based on goodness-of-fit," CORE Discussion Papers 1997013, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  3. Serge Garcia & Alban Thomas, 2001. "The Structure of Municipal Water Supply Costs: Application to a Panel of French Local Communities," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 5-29, July.
  4. Sabbioni, Guillermo, 2008. "Efficiency in the Brazilian sanitation sector," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 11-20, March.
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  7. Leleu, Herve, 2006. "A linear programming framework for free disposal hull technologies and cost functions: Primal and dual models," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 168(2), pages 340-344, January.
  8. Walter Briec & Kristiaan Kerstens & Philippe Venden Eeckaut, 2004. "Non-convex Technologies and Cost Functions: Definitions, Duality and Nonparametric Tests of Convexity," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 81(2), pages 155-192, 02.
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  12. Cinzia Daraio & Leopold Simar, 2003. "Introducing Environmental Variables in Nonparametric Frontier Models: a Probabilistic Approach," LEM Papers Series 2003/17, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Michael Zschille, 2012. "Consolidating the Water Industry: An Analysis of the Potential Gains from Horizontal Integration in a Conditional Efficiency Framework," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1187, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Chavas, Jean-Paul & Kim, Kwansoo, 2013. "Nonparametric Analysis of Technology and Productivity under Non-Convexity," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 149684, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  3. Brandon Pope & Andrew Johnson, 2013. "Returns to scope: a metric for production synergies demonstrated for hospital production," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 239-250, October.
  4. Andrea Guerrini & Giulia Romano & Bettina Campedelli, 2013. "Economies of Scale, Scope, and Density in the Italian Water Sector: A Two-Stage Data Envelopment Analysis Approach," Water Resources Management, Springer, vol. 27(13), pages 4559-4578, October.
  5. De Witte, Kristof & Mika, Kortelainen, 2009. "Blaming the exogenous environment? Conditional efficiency estimation with continuous and discrete exogenous variables," MPRA Paper 14034, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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