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Measuring productivity in the public sector: some conceptual problems

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  • W. Diewert

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Abstract

In many sectors of the economy, governments either provide various services at no cost or at highly subsidized prices. Examples are the health, education and general government sectors. The paper analyzes three possible general methods to measure the price and quantity of nonmarket government outputs. If quantity information on nonmarket outputs is available, then the first two methods of price valuation rely on either purchaser based valuations or on cost based valuations. If little or no information on the quantity of nonmarket outputs produced is available, then the method recommended in the System of National Accounts 1993 must be used, where aggregate output growth is set equal to aggregate input growth. The paper also discusses various methods of adjusting for quality change.
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Suggested Citation

  • W. Diewert, 2011. "Measuring productivity in the public sector: some conceptual problems," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 177-191, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jproda:v:36:y:2011:i:2:p:177-191
    DOI: 10.1007/s11123-011-0226-2
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11123-011-0226-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Diewert, W Erwin, 1983. " The Measurement of Waste within the Production Sector of an Open Economy," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 85(2), pages 159-179.
    2. Diewart, W Erwin & Morrison, Catherine J, 1986. "Adjusting Output and Productivity Indexes for Changes in the Terms of Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(383), pages 659-679, September.
    3. W. Erwin Diewert & Saeed Heravi & Mick Silver, 2009. "Hedonic Imputation versus Time Dummy Hedonic Indexes," NBER Chapters,in: Price Index Concepts and Measurement, pages 161-196 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Robert B. Archibald, 1977. "On the Theory of Industrial Price Measurement Output Price Indexes," NBER Chapters,in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 6, number 1, pages 57-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Triplett, Jack E & McDonald, Richard J, 1977. "Assessing the Quality Error in Output Measures: The Case of Refrigerators," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 23(2), pages 137-156, June.
    6. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
    7. Kevin Fox & Ulrich Kohli, 1998. "GDP growth, terms-of-trade effects, and total factor productivity," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(1), pages 87-110.
    8. F. M. Fisher & K. Shell, 1970. "The Pure Theory of the National-Output Deflator," Working papers 59, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    9. Diewert, W E, 1992. "The Measurement of Productivity," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 163-198, July.
    10. W. Diewert & Alice Nakamura, 2003. "Index Number Concepts, Measures and Decompositions of Productivity Growth," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 127-159, April.
    11. Dan Usher, 1980. "The Measurement of Capital," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ushe80-1.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Schreyer & Matilde Mas, 2016. "Measuring Health Services in the National Accounts: An International Perspective," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring and Modeling Health Care Costs, pages 25-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Diewert, Erwin & Fox, Kevin J., 2014. "Decomposing Bjurek Productivity Indexes into Explanatory Factors," Economics working papers erwin_diewert-2014-32, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 30 Jun 2014.
    3. Diewert, W. Erwin, 2017. "Productivity Measurement in the Public Sector: Theory and Practice," Microeconomics.ca working papers erwin_diewert-2017-1, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 02 Feb 2017.
    4. Wulong Gu & Ambrose Wong, 2015. "Productivity and economic output of the education sector," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 165-182, April.
    5. Diewert, W. Erwin, 2014. "Decompositions of profitability change using cost functions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 183(1), pages 58-66.
    6. Førsund, Finn R., 2012. "Measuring Efficiency in the Public Sector," Memorandum 09/2012, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    7. Diewert, W. Erwin & Fox, Kevin J., 2016. "A Decomposition of U.S. Business Sector TFP Growth into Technical Progress and Cost Efficiency Components," Microeconomics.ca working papers erwin_diewert-2016-8, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 30 Jun 2016.
    8. repec:eee:jomega:v:73:y:2017:i:c:p:93-103 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Robert Pater & Tomasz Skica, 2014. "The productivity of public and private sector in Poland," Business and Economic Horizons (BEH), Prague Development Center, vol. 10(2), pages 120-137, July.
    10. W. Erwin Diewert & Kevin J. Fox, 2017. "Decomposing Value Added Growth into Explanatory Factors," Discussion Papers 2017-02, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
    11. Diewert, W. Erwin & Fox, Kevin J., 2017. "Decomposing productivity indexes into explanatory factors," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 256(1), pages 275-291.
    12. Diewert, Erwin, 2018. "Duality in Production," Microeconomics.ca working papers erwin_diewert-2018-2, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 06 Feb 2018.
    13. Savona, Maria & Steinmueller, W. Edward, 2013. "Service output, innovation and productivity: A time-based conceptual framework," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 118-132.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Measurement of output; Input and productivity; Nonmarket sector; Health; Education; General government; Cost functions; Duality theory; Marginal cost prices; Quality adjustment; Hedonic regressions; Index number theory; C43; D24; E23; H40; H51; H52; I12; I20;

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

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