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Efficiency in the provision of public services: a data envelopment analysis of UK public library systems

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  • Christopher Hammond

Abstract

This study assesses the relative efficiency of public library services by examining the relationship between library inputs and library outputs in multi-outlet library systems. Differences in the size of the area and population served are reflected in differences in the number of outlets and mix of outlet types. Using a Data Envelopment Analysis, which controls for the accessibility of library resources, this study derives technical and overall efficiency scores for 99 UK Public Library Systems. The data are survey observations for 1995/1996. Over the decade leading up to the survey, library services had been subject to a protracted period of budget restraint and contraction in most areas of activity. The distribution of efficiency scores is skewed, implying that although many library systems are efficient or near-efficient, there is a tail of inefficient operations. Inefficiency is mainly, but not exclusively associated with over subscription to serial publications. Many library systems are scale inefficient, operating under conditions of increasing returns to scale. Reorganization of the service may be required if greater efficiency is to be achieved.

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File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00036840110053252
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 34 (2002)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 649-657

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Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:34:y:2002:i:5:p:649-657

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Cited by:
  1. Simon, Jose & Simon, Clara & Arias, Alicia, 2011. "Changes in productivity of Spanish university libraries," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 578-588, October.
  2. Lilo Locher, 2005. "Public Library Fees in Germany," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 29(4), pages 313-324, November.
  3. De Witte, Kristof & Geys, Benny, 2013. "Citizen coproduction and efficient public good provision: Theory and evidence from local public libraries," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 224(3), pages 592-602.
  4. Hammond, Christopher J., 2009. "The effect of organisational change on UK public library efficiency," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 286-295, September.
  5. Witte, Kristof De & Geys, Benny, 2011. "Evaluating efficient public good provision: Theory and evidence from a generalised conditional efficiency model for public libraries," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 319-327, May.

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