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Measuring potential gains from specialization under non-convex technologies


  • S Blancard

    (AGROSUP Dijon, CESAER, Dijon, France)

  • J-P Boussemart

    (University of Lille and LEM-IÉSEG School of Management, Lille, France)

  • H Leleu

    (CNRS-LEM and IÉSEG School of Management, Lille, France)


In this paper, the Free Coordination Hull (FCH) approach developed by Green and Cook (2004) is combined with the Free Disposal Hull (FDH) model to detect potential gains from specialization. As a non-convex approach that allows both directly observed and summed Decision Making Units to define the production technology, FCH is the relevant model for analysing optimal reallocation of activity among smaller and more specialized units. Indeed in more traditional Data Envelopment Analysis models the convexity assumption precludes the possibility of detecting potential gains from specialization and can only reveal economies of scope. Therefore non-convex technologies are required to model diseconomies of scope. On the basis of FDH and FCH technologies, an overall efficiency measure is decomposed into three components, namely: technical, size and specialization efficiencies. A 2003 database of French farms is used as an illustration. Results indicate that input inefficiency in the agricultural sector is mainly driven by a lack of specialization, which represents approximately 50% of the overall inefficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • S Blancard & J-P Boussemart & H Leleu, 2011. "Measuring potential gains from specialization under non-convex technologies," Journal of the Operational Research Society, Palgrave Macmillan;The OR Society, vol. 62(10), pages 1871-1880, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jorsoc:v:62:y:2011:i:10:p:1871-1880

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Maindiratta, Ajay, 1990. "Largest size-efficient scale and size efficiencies of decision-making units in data envelopment analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1-2), pages 57-72.
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    4. Wu, Shunxiang & Prato, Anthony A., 2006. "Cost Efficiency and Scope Economies of Crop and Livestock Farms in Missouri," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 38(03), December.
    5. Wu, Shunxiang & Prato, Tony, 2006. "Cost Efficiency and Scope Economies of Crop and Livestock Farms in Missouri," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(03), pages 539-553, December.
    6. Peter Bogetoft & Dexiang Wang, 2005. "Estimating the Potential Gains from Mergers," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 145-171, May.
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    8. Chambers, Robert G. & Chung, Yangho & Fare, Rolf, 1996. "Benefit and Distance Functions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 407-419, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chang, Juin-Jen & Lai, Ching-Chong & Liao, Chih-Hsing, 2017. "Welfare Cost of Inflation: The Role of Price Markups and Increasing Returns to Production Specialization," MPRA Paper 77753, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Blancard, Stéphane & Boussemart, Jean-Philippe & Chavas, Jean-Paul & Leleu, Hervé, 2016. "Potential gains from specialization and diversification further to the reorganization of activities," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 60-68.
    3. Mark Müser & Harald Dyckhoff, 2017. "Quality splitting in waste incineration due to non-convex production possibilities," Journal of Business Economics, Springer, vol. 87(1), pages 73-96, January.
    4. Kwansoo Kim & Donghwan An, 2015. "Nonparametric Evaluation of Economies of Scope in the Context of Technical Efficiency: The Case of Rice and Vegetable Farms in Korea," Asian Economic Journal, East Asian Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 285-301, September.

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