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Incorporating contextual information in public sector efficiency analyses: a comparative study of NSW local government


  • Andrew Worthington
  • Brian Dollery


Using the planning and regulatory function of 173 NSW local governments, several approaches for incorporating contextual or non-discretionary inputs in data envelopment analysis (DEA) are compared. Non-discretionary inputs (or factors beyond managerial control) in this context include the population growth rate and distribution, the level of development and non-residential building activity, and the proportion of the population from a non-English speaking background. The approaches selected to incorporate these variables include discretionary inputs only, non-discretionary and discretionary inputs treated alike and differently, categorical inputs, 'adjusted' DEA, and 'endogenous' DEA. The results indicate that the efficiency scores of the five approaches that incorporated non-discretionary factors were significantly positively correlated. However, it was also established that the distributions of the efficiency scores and the number of councils assessed as perfectly technically efficient in the six approaches also varied significantly across the sample.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Worthington & Brian Dollery, 2002. "Incorporating contextual information in public sector efficiency analyses: a comparative study of NSW local government," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(4), pages 453-464.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:34:y:2002:i:4:p:453-464
    DOI: 10.1080/00036840110044171

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Balaguer-Coll, Maria Teresa & Prior, Diego & Tortosa-Ausina, Emili, 2007. "On the determinants of local government performance: A two-stage nonparametric approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 425-451, February.
    2. Garry D. Carnegie & Jacqueline Tuck & Brian West, 2011. "Price Setting Practices in Australian Local Government," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 21(2), pages 193-201, June.
    3. Francesco Porcelli, 2014. "Electoral accountability and local government efficiency: quasi-experimental evidence from the Italian health care sector reforms," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 221-251, August.
    4. Subal Kumbhakar & Raquel Ortega-Argilés & Lesley Potters & Marco Vivarelli & Peter Voigt, 2012. "Corporate R&D and firm efficiency: evidence from Europe’s top R&D investors," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 125-140, April.
    5. Francesco Porcelli, 2009. "Effects of fiscal decentralisation and electoral accountability efficiency evidence from the Italian health care sector," Working Papers 2009/29, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    6. James Fogarty & Amin Mugera, 2013. "Local Government Efficiency: Evidence from Western Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 46(3), pages 300-311, September.
    7. Geys, Benny & Moesen, Wim, 2008. "Measuring local government technical (in)efficiency: An application and comparison of FDH, DEA and econometric approaches," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2008-21, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    8. Fogarty, James Joseph & Mugera, Amin W., 2011. "Local Government Efficiency in Western Australia," Working Papers 117072, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    9. Bergantino, Angela Stefania & Capozza, Claudia & Porcelli, Francesco, 2015. "Hotelling competition and teaching efficiency of Italian university faculties. A semi-parametric analysis," MPRA Paper 62927, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Angela Stefania Bergantino & Enrico Musso, 2011. "The role of external factors versus managerial ability in determining seaports’ relative efficiency: An input-by-input analysis through a multi-step approach on a panel of Southern European ports," Maritime Economics & Logistics, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME), vol. 13(2), pages 121-141, June.

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