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Analysis of product efficiency in the Korean automobile market from a consumer’s perspective


  • Inha Oh


  • Jeong-Dong Lee
  • Seogwon Hwang
  • Almas Heshmati


A product is called technically inefficient when it has higher price and/or lower quality than others. Technical inefficiency of product has been conceptualized since Lancaster (1966), and empirically measured by many researchers, for example, Fernandez-Castro and Smith (2002) and Lee et al. (2005) among others. If we know further the information about structure of utility function, allocative inefficiency can also be measured. Even though a product is technically efficient with highest quality together with lowest price, it could not be chosen in the market, if it cannot match the preference structure of consumers, i.e. it is allocatively inefficient. This study poses a conceptual and methodological framework to measure technical and allocative efficiency at the product level considering consumer’s choice, which comprises the overall efficiency. Empirically we combine Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and discrete choice model to measure the level of inefficiencies. The suggested framework is applied to the Korean automobile market. The relationship between the level of efficiency and market performance in terms of market share is discussed.
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Suggested Citation

  • Inha Oh & Jeong-Dong Lee & Seogwon Hwang & Almas Heshmati, 2010. "Analysis of product efficiency in the Korean automobile market from a consumer’s perspective," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 119-137, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:empeco:v:38:y:2010:i:1:p:119-137 DOI: 10.1007/s00181-009-0258-x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pekka Korhonen & Margareta Soismaa & Aapo Siljamäki, 2002. "On the Use of Value Efficiency Analysis and Some Further Developments," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 49-64, January.
    2. Merja Halme & Tarja Joro & Pekka Korhonen & Seppo Salo & Jyrki Wallenius, 1999. "A Value Efficiency Approach to Incorporating Preference Information in Data Envelopment Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(1), pages 103-115, January.
    3. Wojcik, Charlotte, 2001. "Learning by Consumers in the Demand for Japanese Cars," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(1), pages 94-107, February.
    4. James Levinsohn & Steven Berry & Ariel Pakes, 1999. "Voluntary Export Restraints on Automobiles: Evaluating a Trade Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 400-430, June.
    5. De Borger, Bruno & Kerstens, Kristiaan, 1996. "Cost efficiency of Belgian local governments: A comparative analysis of FDH, DEA, and econometric approaches," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 145-170, April.
    6. Ley, Eduardo & Steel, Mark F J, 1996. "On the Estimation of Demand Systems through Consumption Efficiency," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(3), pages 539-543, August.
    7. Aviv Nevo, 2000. "A Practitioner's Guide to Estimation of Random-Coefficients Logit Models of Demand," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(4), pages 513-548, December.
    8. Angel S. Fernandez-Castro & Peter C. Smith, 2002. "Lancaster's characteristics approach revisited: product selection using non-parametric methods," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 83-91.
    9. McFadden, Daniel, 1974. "The measurement of urban travel demand," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 303-328, November.
    10. Steven T. Berry, 1994. "Estimating Discrete-Choice Models of Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 242-262, Summer.
    11. Train,Kenneth E., 2009. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521747387, March.
    12. Lee, Jeongdong & Repkine, Alexandre & Hwang, Seogwon & Kim, Taiyoo, 2004. "Estimating Consumers’ Willingness to Pay for the Individual Quality Attributes with DEA," MPRA Paper 7848, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Christos Papahristodoulou, 1997. "A DEA model to evaluate car efficiency," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(11), pages 1493-1508.
    14. Pekka Korhonen & Mikko Syrjänen, 2005. "On the Interpretation of Value Efficiency," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 197-201, October.
    15. Kaiser, Ulrich, 2001. "The effects of website provision on the demand for German women's magazines," ZEW Discussion Papers 01-69, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    16. Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 132-132.
    17. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-890, July.
    18. M. Halme & T. Joro & P. Korhonen & S. Salo & J. Wallenius, 1998. "Value Efficiency Analysis for Incorporating Preference Information in Data Envelopment Analysis," Working Papers ir98054, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
    19. repec:cor:louvrp:-571 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Wojcik, Charlotte, 2000. "Alternative models of demand for automobiles," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 113-118, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:zbw:tuisbw:22017 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Uwe Cantner & Jens J. Krüger & René Söllner, 2012. "Product quality, product price, and share dynamics in the German compact car market," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(5), pages 1085-1115, October.
    3. González, Eduardo & Cárcaba, Ana & Ventura, Juan, 2015. "How car dealers adjust prices to reach the product efficiency frontier in the Spanish automobile market," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 38-48.
    4. Voltes-Dorta, Augusto & Perdiguero, Jordi & Jiménez, Juan Luis, 2013. "Are car manufacturers on the way to reduce CO2 emissions?: A DEA approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 77-86.

    More about this item


    DEA; Product efficiency; Consumers utility; Automobile market; South Korea; C14; C25; D13; D61; L92;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • L92 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Railroads and Other Surface Transportation


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