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Causes of inefficiency in Japanese railways: Application of DEA for managers and policymakers

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  • Jitsuzumi, Toshiya
  • Nakamura, Akihiro

Abstract

Although railway services have been suffering financially due to modal shifts and aging populations, they have been, and will continue to be, an essential component of nations' basic social infrastructures. Since railway firms generate positive externalities, and are required to operate in pre-determined licensed areas, governmental intervention/support may, in some cases, be justified. Indeed, many types of subsidies are created and offered for railway operations in Japan; while some are meant to cover large investments, others are used as compensation for regional disparities. However, thus far, no attempt has been made to analyze the reasons for the underperformance of Japanese railway services. In other words, it is unclear whether this underperformance can be attributed to exogenous and uncontrollable causes, or endogenous phenomena and, hence, capable of being handled by managers. The optimal degree of intervention is thus not sufficiently known. In the current paper, we propose a method based on data envelopment analysis (DEA) to analyze the causes of inefficiency in Japanese railway operations, and, further, to calculate optimal subsidy levels. The latter are designed to compensate for railways' lack of complete discretion in changing location of their operations and/or increasing/decreasing these operations since they are a regulated service. Our proposed method was applied to 53 Japanese railway operators. In so doing, we identified several key characteristics related to their inefficiencies, and developed optimal subsidies designed to improve performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Jitsuzumi, Toshiya & Nakamura, Akihiro, 2010. "Causes of inefficiency in Japanese railways: Application of DEA for managers and policymakers," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 161-173, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceps:v:44:y:2010:i:3:p:161-173
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mitomo, Hitoshi & Jitsuzumi, Toshiya, 1999. "Impact of telecommuting on mass transit congestion: the Tokyo case," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(10-11), pages 741-751, November.
    2. Banker, Rajiv D., 1984. "Estimating most productive scale size using data envelopment analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 35-44, July.
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    4. Fumitoshi Mizutani, 2004. "Privately Owned Railways' Cost Function, Organization Size and Ownership," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 297-322, May.
    5. Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Rhodes, E., 1978. "Measuring the efficiency of decision making units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 2(6), pages 429-444, November.
    6. Mark Armstrong & Simon Cowan & John Vickers, 1994. "Regulatory Reform: Economic Analysis and British Experience," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262510790, January.
    7. Tone, Kaoru & Tsutsui, Miki, 2007. "Decomposition of cost efficiency and its application to Japanese-US electric utility comparisons," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 91-106, June.
    8. Liu, Junming & Tone, Kaoru, 2008. "A multistage method to measure efficiency and its application to Japanese banking industry," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 75-91, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:soceps:v:59:y:2017:i:c:p:26-42 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Mallikarjun, Sreekanth & Lewis, Herbert F. & Sexton, Thomas R., 2014. "Operational performance of U.S. public rail transit and implications for public policy," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 74-88.
    3. repec:spr:annopr:v:259:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10479-016-2190-8 is not listed on IDEAS

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