On the technical (in)efficiency of a profit maximum
In general, production-theoretical analysis aims at identifying an enterprise's (technically) efficient production alternatives. According to the principles of economy, achieving technical efficiency is considered as a prerequisite for a producer's further optimization behaviour and, therefore, as a matter of rationality. We will show in our article, however, that it might be economically unfounded to focus only on technically efficient production alternatives. Using a nonlinear inequality-constrained optimization framework, we demonstrate that a profit-maximizing production may imply technical inefficiency, i.e., in graphical terms, depending on the topology of the profit function the optimal input-output combination may be located in the interior of the producer's production possibilities set. In order to show this, we establish mathematical (and economic) conditions for the profit-maximization approach to yield a technically efficient or inefficient solution, respectively. In fact, inefficient solutions emerge when input or output prices are not strictly positive over the entire domain and/or the objective function is non-monotonic. We highlight some non-pathological economic situations that are likely to set the stage for technically inefficient profit maxima and provide an example that illustrates how an enterprise can make use of this approach in order to improve profits by choosing technically inefficient production points. In spite of those optimal inefficiencies, economic environments with positive prices and technical efficiency of the optimum shall remain the normal case.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bogetoft, Peter & Fare, Rolf, 1999.
"Allocative Efficiency of Technically Inefficient Production Units,"
Unit of Economics Working papers
24217, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Food and Resource Economic Institute.
- Bogetoft, Peter & Fare, Rolf & Obel, Borge, 2006. "Allocative efficiency of technically inefficient production units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 168(2), pages 450-462, January.
- Steven, Marion & Zapp, Susanne E., 2008. "Technical inefficiencies and profit maximization," Arbeitsberichte des Lehrstuhls für Produktionswirtschaft 7, Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), Lehrstuhl für Produktionswirtschaft.
- Seiford, Lawrence M. & Zhu, Joe, 2002. "Modeling undesirable factors in efficiency evaluation," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 142(1), pages 16-20, October.
- Dyckhoff, H. & Allen, K., 2001. "Measuring ecological efficiency with data envelopment analysis (DEA)," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 132(2), pages 312-325, July.
- Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
- Baumgartner, Stefan & Winkler, Ralph, 2003. "Markets, technology and environmental regulation: price ambivalence of waste paper in Germany," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2-3), pages 183-195, December.
- Fare, Rolf, et al, 1993. "Derivation of Shadow Prices for Undesirable Outputs: A Distance Function Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 374-80, May.
- Fare, Rolf, et al, 1989. "Multilateral Productivity Comparisons When Some Outputs Are Undesirable: A Nonparametric Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 90-98, February.
- Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:proeco:v:121:y:2009:i:2:p:409-426. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.