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Value for money? German local government efficiency in a comparative perspective

Author

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  • Alexander Kalb
  • Benny Geys
  • Friedrich Heinemann

Abstract

In this article, we investigate the cost efficiency of German local governments in the state of Baden-Württemberg in 2004 using a stochastic frontier approach. Besides being the first study on German data, we add two elements to the literature. First, we provide a comparative perspective, allowing us to embed our results in the broader literature. Second, unlike most previous studies, we explicitly account for exogenous or nondiscretionary influences when estimating municipal efficiency scores. The results suggest that disregarding such exogenous factors can lead to significant and systematic bias in the estimated inefficiency levels. Particularly, underestimation of efficiency occurs for municipalities with high tourist activity, while the reverse is true for municipalities with high unemployment.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Kalb & Benny Geys & Friedrich Heinemann, 2012. "Value for money? German local government efficiency in a comparative perspective," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(2), pages 201-218, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:44:y:2012:i:2:p:201-218
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2010.502110
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tomoyasu Tanaka, 2006. "Cost Efficiency in Japanese Local Governments: the Economic Effect of Information Technology in Japanese Local Governments," ERSA conference papers ersa06p234, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Fried, Harold O. & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Shelton S. (ed.), 1993. "The Measurement of Productive Efficiency: Techniques and Applications," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072181.
    3. Kalb, Alexander, 2009. "What determines local governments' technical efficiency? The case of road maintenance," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-047, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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    1. repec:eee:renene:v:115:y:2018:i:c:p:1086-1098 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Tony Mudrack, 2015. "Wieviel Verwaltung benötigt der Bürger?," Review of Regional Research: Jahrbuch für Regionalwissenschaft, Springer;Gesellschaft für Regionalforschung (GfR), vol. 35(2), pages 211-240, October.
    3. Martin Ardanaz & Stanislao Maldonado, 2016. "Natural Resource Windfalls and Efficiency of Local Government Expenditures: Evidence from Peru," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 014578, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
    4. Bischoff, Ivo & Bönisch, Peter & Haug, Peter & Illy, Annette, 2014. "Vertical Grants and Local Public Efficiency," IWH Discussion Papers 1/2013, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    5. repec:kap:jproda:v:48:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11123-017-0500-z is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Francesco Aiello & Graziella Bonanno & Luigi Capristo, 2017. "Explaining Differences In Efficiency: The Case Of Local Government Literature," Working Papers 201704, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    7. Benny Geys & Steffen Osterloh, 2013. "Borders As Boundaries To Fiscal Policy Interactions? An Empirical Analysis Of Politicians’ Opinions On Rivals In The Competition For Firms," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(4), pages 583-606, October.
    8. da Cruz, Nuno Ferreira & Marques, Rui Cunha, 2014. "Revisiting the determinants of local government performance," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 91-103.
    9. Cosmin Eugen ENACHE, 2012. "The efficiency of expenditure-related redistributive policies in the European countries," Timisoara Journal of Economics, West University of Timisoara, Romania, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, vol. 5(18), pages 380-394.
    10. Isabel Narbón-Perpiñá & Mª Teresa Balaguer-Coll & Marko Petrovic & Emili Tortosa-Ausina, 2017. "Which estimator to measure local governments’ cost efficiency? An application to Spanish municipalities," Working Papers 2017/06, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).
    11. Isabel Narbón-Perpiñá & Mª Teresa Balaguer-Coll & Emili Tortosa-Ausina, 2017. "Evaluating local government performance in times of crisis," Working Papers 2017/05, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).
    12. Jugal Mahabir, 2014. "Quantifying Inefficient Expenditure in Local Government: A Free Disposable Hull Analysis of a Sample of South African Municipalities," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 82(4), pages 493-517, December.
    13. repec:eee:soceps:v:61:y:2018:i:c:p:102-113 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Cordero, José Manuel & Pedraja-Chaparro, Francisco & Pisaflores, Elsa C. & Polo, Cristina, 2016. "Efficiency assessment of Portuguese municipalities using a conditional nonparametric approach," MPRA Paper 70674, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Isabel Narbón-Perpiñá & Kristof De Witte, 2016. "Local governments’ efficiency: A systematic literature review – Part I," Working Papers 2016/20, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).
    16. Isabel Narbón-Perpiñá & Kristof De Witte, 2016. "Local governments’ efficiency: A systematic literature review – Part II," Working Papers 2016/21, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).

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