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Are all scales optimal in Dea? Theory and empirical evidence

  • Lennart Hjalmarsson

    ()

  • Finn R. Førsund

    ()

Policy recommendations concerning optimal scale of production units often have serious implications for the restructuring of a sector, while tests of natural monopoly have important implications for regulatory structure. The piecewise linear frontier production function framework is becoming the most popular one for assessing not only technical efficiency of operations, but also for scale efficiency and calculation of optimal scale sizes. The main purpose of the present study is to check if neoclassical production theory gives any guidance as to the nature of scale properties in the DEA model, and to empirically investigate such properties. The empirical results indicate that optimal scale may be found over almost the entire size variations in outputs and inputs, thus making policy recommendations about scale efficiency dubious. It is necessary to establish the nature of optimal scale before any practical use can be made. Proposals for such indexes that should be calculated are provided.

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File URL: http://servizi.sme.unito.it/icer_repec/RePEc/icr/wp2002/forsund14-02.pdf
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Paper provided by ICER - International Centre for Economic Research in its series ICER Working Papers with number 14-2002.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:icr:wpicer:14-2002
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  1. Jamasb, T. & Pollitt, M., 2000. "Benchmarking and regulation: international electricity experience," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 107-130, September.
  2. Panzar, John C & Willig, Robert D, 1977. "Economies of Scale in Multi-Output Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 481-93, August.
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  7. Banker, Rajiv D., 1984. "Estimating most productive scale size using data envelopment analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 35-44, July.
  8. Hjalmarsson, Lennart & Veiderpass, Ann, 1992. " Productivity in Swedish Electricity Retail Distribution," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(0), pages S193-205, Supplemen.
  9. Banker, R. D. & Bardhan, I. & Cooper, W. W., 1996. "A note on returns to scale in DEA," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 583-585, February.
  10. Starrett, David A, 1977. "Measuring Returns to Scale in the Aggregate, and the Scale Effect of Public Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(6), pages 1439-55, September.
  11. Kim, H Youn, 1987. "Economies of Scale in Multi-product Firms: An Empirical Analysis," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 54(214), pages 185-206, May.
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