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Allocative efficiency of rural water supply – a globally flexible SGM cost frontier


  • Johannes Sauer


  • Klaus Frohberg


This contribution investigates the efficiency of water suppliers in rural areas of East and West Germany. A non-radial measure of input specific allocative inefficiency is used to reduce the distributional dependency with respect to the inefficiency parameters. It is based on the demand system of a flexible cost function for the variable inputs labour, energy and chemicals modelled by applying a modified symmetric generalized McFadden functional form. Concavity restrictions, as required by economic theory, are imposed. The analysis reveals that efforts towards increasing suppliers’ allocative efficiency should focus on the relatively inefficient usage of the input chemicals. The input specific allocative model specification was found to be superior to the overall allocative specification. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Johannes Sauer & Klaus Frohberg, 2007. "Allocative efficiency of rural water supply – a globally flexible SGM cost frontier," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 31-40, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jproda:v:27:y:2007:i:1:p:31-40
    DOI: 10.1007/s11123-006-0024-4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bhattacharyya, Arunava & Harris, Thomas R. & Narayanan, Rangesan & Raffiee, Kambiz, 1995. "Technical Efficiency Of Rural Water Utilities," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 20(02), December.
    2. Dimitris Christopoulos & John Loizides & Efthymios G. Tsionas, 2001. "Efficiency in European railways: Not as inefficient as one might think," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 4, pages 63-88, May.
    3. Diewert, Walter E & Wales, Terence J, 1987. "Flexible Functional Forms and Global Curvature Conditions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 43-68, January.
    4. Hung-jen Wang & Peter Schmidt, 2002. "One-Step and Two-Step Estimation of the Effects of Exogenous Variables on Technical Efficiency Levels," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 129-144, September.
    5. Lau, Lawrence J., 1986. "Functional forms in econometric model building," Handbook of Econometrics,in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1515-1566 Elsevier.
    6. Johannes Sauer, 2006. "Economic Theory and Econometric Practice: Parametric Efficiency Analysis," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 1061-1087, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Francisco González Gómez & Miguel Angel García Rubio, 2008. "Efficiency in the management of urban water services. What have we learned after four decades of research?," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 185(2), pages 39-67, July.
    2. Michael Zschille & Matthias Walter, 2012. "The performance of German water utilities: a (semi)-parametric analysis," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(29), pages 3749-3764, October.
    3. Angel Prieto & José L. Zofio & Inmaculada Alvarez, 2009. "Economías de escala, densidad y alcance en la provisión pública de infraestructura básica municipal," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 190(3), pages 59-94, September.
    4. Picazo-Tadeo, Andres J. & Saez-Fernandez, Francisco J. & Gonzalez-Gomez, Francisco, 2008. "Does service quality matter in measuring the performance of water utilities," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 30-38, March.
    5. Picazo-Tadeo, Andrés J. & Sáez-Fernández, Francisco J. & González-Gómez, Francisco, 2008. "Assesing Performance in the Management of the Urban Water Cycle," Efficiency Series Papers 2008/01, University of Oviedo, Department of Economics, Oviedo Efficiency Group (OEG).
    6. Sauer, Johannes, 2008. "Quota Deregulation and Organic versus Conventional Milk – A Bayesian Distance Function Approach," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6425, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    7. Walter, Matthias & Cullmann, Astrid & von Hirschhausen, Christian & Wand, Robert & Zschille, Michael, 2009. "Quo vadis efficiency analysis of water distribution? A comparative literature review," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3-4), pages 225-232, September.
    8. Shanxia Sun & Juan P. Sesmero & Karina Schoengold, 2016. "The role of common pool problems in irrigation inefficiency: a case study in groundwater pumping in Mexico," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 47(1), pages 117-127, January.
    9. Johannes Sauer & Klaus Frohberg & Henrich Hockmann, 2006. "Stochastic efficiency measurement: The curse of theoretical consistency," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 9, pages 139-166, May.
    10. Valeria Cosmo, 2013. "Ownership, Scale Economies and Efficiency in the Italian Water Sector," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 399-415, September.
    11. Francisco González-Gómez & Miguel García‐Rubio & Francisco Alcalá-Olid & M. Ortega-Díaz, 2013. "Outsourcing and Efficiency in the Management of Rural Water Services," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 27(3), pages 731-747, February.
    12. Johannes Sauer, 2010. "Deregulation and dairy production systems: a Bayesian distance function approach," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 213-237, December.
    13. Valeria Di Cosmo, 2011. "Are the Consumers Always Ready to Pay? A Quasi-Almost Ideal Demand System for the Italian Water Sector," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 25(2), pages 465-481, January.

    More about this item


    Functional form; Input specific allocative efficiency; Symmetric generalized McFadden; Rural water supply; C31; D24; Q25;

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water


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