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A Data Envelopment Analysis Approach to the Assessment of Natural Parks’ Economic Efficiency and Sustainability. The Case of Italian National Parks

  • Valentina Bosetti

    (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)

  • Gianni Locatelli

    (DISCo, Università di Milano Bicocca)

Wilderness protection is a growing necessity for modern societies, and this is particularly true for areas where population density is extremely high, as for example Europe. Conservation, however, implies very high opportunity costs. It is thus crucial to create incentives to efficient management practices, to promote benchmarking and to improve conservation management. In the present paper we propose a methodology based on Data Envelopment Analysis, DEA, a non parametric benchmarking technique specifically developed to assess the relative efficiency of decision-making units. In particular, the objective of the discussed methodology is to assess the relative efficiency of the management units of the protected area and to indicate how it could be improved, by providing a set of guidelines. The main advantage of this methodology is that it allows to assess the efficiency of natural parks’ management not only internally (comparing the performance of the park to itself in time) but also by external benchmarking, thus providing new and different perspectives on potential improvements. Although the proposed methodology is fairly general, we have applied it to the context of Italian National Parks in order to produce a representative case study. Specifically, the choice of adequate cost and benefit indicators is a very important and delicate phase of any benchmark analysis. For this purpose, a questionnaire was used to investigate the opinions of Italian National Parks managers and stakeholders and to define the relevant indicators for the analysis. Finally, relevant policy implications for the case study are given.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2005.63.

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Date of creation: May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2005.63
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  1. Nyman, John A & Bricker, Dennis L, 1989. "Profit Incentives and Technical Efficiency in the Production of Nursing Home Care," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(4), pages 586-94, November.
  2. STEPHEN J. DeCANIO, 1997. "Economic Modeling And The False Tradeoff Between Environmental Protection And Economic Growth," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(4), pages 10-27, October.
  3. Francesc Hernandez-Sancho & Andres Picazo-Tadeo & Ernest Reig-Martinez, 2000. "Efficiency and Environmental Regulation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 15(4), pages 365-378, April.
  4. Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Rhodes, E., 1978. "Measuring the efficiency of decision making units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 2(6), pages 429-444, November.
  5. R. D. Banker & A. Charnes & W. W. Cooper, 1984. "Some Models for Estimating Technical and Scale Inefficiencies in Data Envelopment Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(9), pages 1078-1092, September.
  6. Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Huang, Z. M. & Sun, D. B., 1990. "Polyhedral Cone-Ratio DEA Models with an illustrative application to large commercial banks," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1-2), pages 73-91.
  7. Valentina Bosetti & Mariaester Cassinelli & Alessandro Lanza, 2004. "Using Data Envelopment Analysis to Evaluate Environmentally Conscious Tourism Management," Working Papers 2004.59, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  8. Dyckhoff, H. & Allen, K., 2001. "Measuring ecological efficiency with data envelopment analysis (DEA)," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 132(2), pages 312-325, July.
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