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A Meta-Analysis of Technical Efficiency in Farming: A Multi-Country Perspective


  • Bravo-Ureta, Boris E.
  • Rivas, Teodoro E.
  • Thiam, Abdourahmane


The objective of this study is to undertake a meta-analysis seeking to explain the variation in average technical efficiency focusing on the agricultural sector. For this purpose, a meta-analysis of 126 technical efficiency studies on the agricultural sector of developing and developed countries was undertaken. In addition, the study contributes to cross-country productivity literature because the existing body of work in this area typically uses aggregate (i.e., national) level data to estimate total factor productivity and has ignored the technical efficiency component of productivity. The econometric results suggest that stochastic frontier models generate higher mean technical efficiency estimates than deterministic models, while parametric frontier models yield lower estimates than nonparametric. The difference between parametric and non-parametric frontiers is reduced when the translog specification is used. Also, frontier models using cross-sectional data produce lower estimates than those based on panel data. The econometric results also suggest that low-income countries (LICs) present a lower mean technical efficiency than high-income countries (HICs). A more detailed analysis reveals that Western European countries and Australia present, on average, the highest levels of mean technical efficiency among all regions after accounting for some methodological features of the studies. Eastern European countries exhibit the lowest estimate followed by Asian and African countries, while studies from Latin America and Caribbean countries, and from North American countries are in an intermediate position.

Suggested Citation

  • Bravo-Ureta, Boris E. & Rivas, Teodoro E. & Thiam, Abdourahmane, 2002. "A Meta-Analysis of Technical Efficiency in Farming: A Multi-Country Perspective," 13th Congress, Wageningen, The Netherlands, July 7-12, 2002 7018, International Farm Management Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:ifma02:7018

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Coelli, Tim J., 1995. "Recent Developments In Frontier Modelling And Efficiency Measurement," Australian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 39(03), December.
    2. Phillips, Joseph M, 1994. "Farmer Education and Farmer Efficiency: A Meta-Analysis," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 149-165, October.
    3. Battese, George E., 1992. "Frontier production functions and technical efficiency: a survey of empirical applications in agricultural economics," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 7(3-4), pages 185-208, October.
    4. Subal C. Kumbhakar, 2001. "Estimation of Profit Functions When Profit Is Not Maximum," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(1), pages 1-19.
    5. Schmidt, Peter & Sickles, Robin C, 1984. "Production Frontiers and Panel Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(4), pages 367-374, October.
    6. Bravo-Ureta, Boris E. & Pinheiro, António E., 1993. "Efficiency Analysis of Developing Country Agriculture: A Review of the Frontier Function Literature," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(01), pages 88-101, April.
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