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On Measuring Aggregate "Social Efficiency."

  • Ravallion, Martin

Cross-country comparisons of social indicators controlling for income and/or social spending have been widely used to measure and explain "social efficiency," analogously to "technical efficiency" in production. The article argues that these methods are clouded in ambiguities about what is being measured. Standard methods of measuring technical efficiency require assumptions that are unlikely to hold for social indicators. In the context of a simple parametric model of life expectancy, conditions are identified under which there will be a systematic pattern of bias in estimates of efficient public health spending.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Economic Development and Cultural Change.

Volume (Year): 53 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (January)
Pages: 273-92

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:y:2005:v:53:i:2:p:273-92
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/EDCC/

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  1. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-97, November.
  2. Rafik Baccouche & Mokhtar Kouki, 2003. "Stochastic Production Frontier and Technical Inefficiency: A Sensitivity Analysis," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 79-91, February.
  3. Skinner, Jonathan, 1994. "What do stochastic frontier cost functions tell us about inefficiency?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 323-328, October.
  4. Anand, Sudhir & Hanson, Kara, 1997. "Disability-adjusted life years: a critical review," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 685-702, December.
  5. Gouyette, Claudine & Pestieau, Pierre, 1999. "Efficiency of the Welfare State," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 537-53.
  6. Sen, Amartya, 1981. "Public Action and the Quality of Life in Developing Countries," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 43(4), pages 287-319, November.
  7. António Afonso & Ludger Schuknecht & Vito Tanzi, 2005. "Public sector efficiency: An international comparison," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 123(3), pages 321-347, June.
  8. António Afonso & Miguel St. Aubyn, 2004. "Non-parametric Approaches to Education and Health Expenditure Efficiency in OECD Countries," Working Papers Department of Economics 2004/01, ISEG - School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, University of Lisbon.
  9. Konstantinos Giannakas & Kien Tran & Vangelis Tzouvelekas, 2003. "Predicting technical effciency in stochastic production frontier models in the presence of misspecification: a Monte-Carlo analysis," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(2), pages 153-161.
  10. Bidani, Benu & Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Decomposing social indicators using distributional data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 125-139, March.
  11. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 2003. "Does piped water reduce diarrhea for children in rural India?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 153-173, January.
  12. Kakwani, N., 1993. "Performance in living standards : An international comparison," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 307-336, August.
  13. Bhalla, Surjit S & Glewwe, Paul, 1986. "Growth and Equity in Developing Countries: A Reinterpretation of the Sri Lankan Experience," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 1(1), pages 35-63, September.
  14. Aigner, Dennis & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Peter, 1977. "Formulation and estimation of stochastic frontier production function models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 21-37, July.
  15. Bruce Hollingsworth & John Wildman, 2003. "The efficiency of health production: re-estimating the WHO panel data using parametric and non-parametric approaches to provide additional information," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(6), pages 493-504.
  16. Ruwan Jayasuriya & Quentin Wodon, 2003. "Efficiency in Reaching the Millennium Development Goals," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13884.
  17. Sudhir Anand & Martin Ravallion, 1993. "Human Development in Poor Countries: On the Role of Private Incomes and Public Services," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 133-150, Winter.
  18. Aturupane, Harsha & Glewwe, Paul & Isenman, Paul, 1994. "Poverty, Human Development, and Growth: An Emerging Consensus?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 244-49, May.
  19. Cazals, Catherine & Florens, Jean-Pierre & Simar, Leopold, 2002. "Nonparametric frontier estimation: a robust approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 1-25, January.
  20. Rulon D. Pope & Richard E. Just, 2003. "Distinguishing Errors in Measurement from Errors in Optimization," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(2), pages 348-358.
  21. Park, B.U. & Simar, L. & Weiner, Ch., 2000. "The Fdh Estimator For Productivity Efficiency Scores," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(06), pages 855-877, December.
  22. Schmidt, Peter & Sickles, Robin C, 1984. "Production Frontiers and Panel Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(4), pages 367-74, October.
  23. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "On Assessing the Efficiency of the Welfare State: A Comment," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 115-23.
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