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The Efficiency of Education in Generating Literacy: A Stochastic Frontier Approach

  • Kristof De Witte


    (University of Maastricht and University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Leuven, Belgium)

  • Wim Groot


    (University of Maastricht and University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

  • Henri?tte Maassen van den Brink


    (University of Maastricht and University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

The growing importance attached to education as a key factor to improve economic performance coupled with the persistent scarcity of resources for education makes it important that skills and literacy are produced efficiently. This paper provides an international comparison of the efficiency of literacy production. We find substantial differences between countries in levels of literacy, differences in literacy between education levels and differences in the efficiency of literacy production. The findings suggest that in almost all countries the scope for efficiency improvements in education is large. So even without major increases in (public) funding, improvements in educational outcomes are achievable. We can get better value for the money we spend on education.

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Article provided by Better Advances Press, Canada in its journal Review of Economics & Finance.

Volume (Year): 2 (2012)
Issue (Month): (February)
Pages: 25-37

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Handle: RePEc:bap:journl:120102
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  1. Kevin Denny & Colm Harmon & Sandra Redmond, 2000. "Functional literacy, educational attainment and earnings : evidence from the international adult literacy survey," Open Access publications 10197/732, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  2. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence Kahn, 2004. "Do Cognitive Test Scores Explain Higher U.S. Wage Inequality?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1139, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Eric A. Hanushek, 1979. "Conceptual and Empirical Issues in the Estimation of Educational Production Functions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(3), pages 351-388.
  4. George E. Battese & D. S. Prasada Rao, 2002. "Technology Gap, Efficiency, and a Stochastic Metafrontier Function," International Journal of Business and Economics, College of Business, and College of Finance, Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan, vol. 1(2), pages 87-93, August.
  5. Meeusen, Wim & van den Broeck, Julien, 1977. "Efficiency Estimation from Cobb-Douglas Production Functions with Composed Error," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 18(2), pages 435-44, June.
  6. George Battese & D. Rao & Christopher O'Donnell, 2004. "A Metafrontier Production Function for Estimation of Technical Efficiencies and Technology Gaps for Firms Operating Under Different Technologies," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 91-103, January.
  7. Hanushek, Eric A. & Luque, Javier A., 2003. "Efficiency and equity in schools around the world," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 481-502, October.
  8. Kumbhakar,Subal C. & Lovell,C. A. Knox, 2003. "Stochastic Frontier Analysis," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521666633, October.
  9. Christopher O’Donnell & D. Rao & George Battese, 2008. "Metafrontier frameworks for the study of firm-level efficiencies and technology ratios," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 231-255, March.
  10. Izadi, Hooshang & Johnes, Geraint & Oskrochi, Reza & Crouchley, Robert, 2002. "Stochastic frontier estimation of a CES cost function: the case of higher education in Britain," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 63-71, February.
  11. Newhouse, Joseph P., 1994. "Frontier estimation: How useful a tool for health economics?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 317-322, October.
  12. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-77, September.
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  14. John Ruggiero & Donald F. Vitaliano, 1999. "Assessing The Efficiency Of Public Schools Using Data Envelopment Analysis And Frontier Regression," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(3), pages 321-331, 07.
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