Efficiency and Productivity Changes of the Italian Agrifood Cooperatives: a Malmquist Index Analysis
The objective of this paper is to analyse efficiency and productivity changes of a sample of Italian agrifood cooperatives in the period 2000-2002. Towards this aim, a three-stage analysis is carried out. Firstly, a Data Envelopment Analysis approach is used to estimate technical and pure efficiency scores. Secondly, DEA-based Malmquist indices are calculated to analyse inter-temporal productivity changes. Thirdly, a Tobit regression analysis is carried out to identify the reasons for the differences existing among the cooperatives in terms of technical efficiency. The main results are as follows. The overall efficiency of the agrifood cooperatives is not particularly high: the technical efficiency and the managerial efficiency are, on average, 35% and 63% of the "relative" optimal ones, respectively. In the period analysed, productivity improves by about 2% due to a positive technological change. The technical efficiency worsens because of deterioration of scale efficiency attenuated by an increase in managerial efficiency. Milk and zootechnic cooperatives show the highest average levels of technical and pure efficiency. Their productivity increased in the period considered, owing to improvements in both managerial and scale efficiency. Wine cooperatives present the lowest average levels of technical and pure efficiency. Moreover, their productivity decreased due to a worsening of managerial capabilities. Fruit and vegetables and oil cooperatives represent middle situations. Finally, technical efficiency seems to be affected positively by the scale, technology, structural elasticity and middle-long term balance whilst is negatively affected by financial exposure.
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