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Measuring input-specific productivity change based on the principle of least action


  • Juan Aparicio

    (University Miguel Hernandez)

  • Magdalena Kapelko

    (Wroclaw University of Economics)

  • Bernhard Mahlberg

    () (Institute for Industrial Research
    Vienna University of Economics and Business)

  • Jose L. Sainz-Pardo

    (University Miguel Hernandez)


Abstract In for-profit organizations, efficiency and productivity measurement with reference to the potential for input-specific reductions is particularly important and has been the focus of interest in the recent literature. Different approaches can be formulated to measure and decompose input-specific productivity change over time. In this paper, we highlight some problems within existing approaches and propose a new methodology based on the Principle of Least Action. In particular, this model is operationalized in the form of a non-radial Luenberger productivity indicator based on the determination of the least distance to the strongly efficient frontier of the considered production possibility sets, which are estimated by non-parametric techniques based upon Data Envelopment Analysis. In our approach, overall productivity change is the sum of input-specific productivity changes. Overall productivity change and input-specific changes are broken up into indicators of efficiency change and technical change. This decomposition enables the researcher to quantify the contributions of each production factor to productivity change and its components. In this way, the drivers of productivity development are revealed. For illustration purposes the new approach is applied to a recent dataset of Polish dairy processing firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Aparicio & Magdalena Kapelko & Bernhard Mahlberg & Jose L. Sainz-Pardo, 2017. "Measuring input-specific productivity change based on the principle of least action," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 17-31, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jproda:v:47:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11123-016-0488-9
    DOI: 10.1007/s11123-016-0488-9

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Magdalena Kapelko & Alfons Oude Lansink & Spiro E. Stefanou, 2017. "Input-Specific Dynamic Productivity Change: Measurement and Application to European Dairy Manufacturing Firms," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 579-599, June.
    2. Zhu, Qingyuan & Wu, Jie & Ji, Xiang & Li, Feng, 2018. "A simple MILP to determine closest targets in non-oriented DEA model satisfying strong monotonicity," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 1-8.


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