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Bad Outputs


  • Sushama Murty

    () (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

  • R. Robert Russell

    () (University of California, Riverside)


This draft chapter, prepared for inclusion in the (prospective) Handbook of Production Economics, Vol. 1 (Theory), edited by Subash Ray, Robert Chambers, and Subal Kumbhakar, analyses recent developments in the modeling of pollution-generating technologies. We first lay out the inadequacies of the traditional, single-equation representations of models of such technologies prominently associated with the classic 1975 (and 1988) book by William J. Baumol and Wallace E.Oates on The Theory of Environmental Policy. In particular, these models lack the “degrees of freedom” needed to capture the complex array of trade-offs that are integral to the production of unintended as well as intended outputs using emission-generating inputs. We reprise the insight, articulated in the classic 1965 book by Ragner Frisch on the Theory of Production, that the representation of specific technologies may require the use of multiple functional restrictions. The relevance of this insight for modeling pollution-generating technologies was first highlighted in 1972 and 1998 papers by Finn Førsund. We show that the use of a particular set of functional restrictions, a phenomenon referred to as by-production in our 2012 paper with Steven Levkoff, facilitates the modeling of pollution-generating technologies. In particular, a by-production technology is obtained as the intersection of an intended-output sub-technology and an unintendedoutput sub-technology. We illustrate these principles by sketching a model of coal-fired electrical-power generation and demonstrate the use of the model for the measurement of both output-based and graph-based technical efficiency.Length:58 pages

Suggested Citation

  • Sushama Murty & R. Robert Russell, "undated". "Bad Outputs," Centre for International Trade and Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi Discussion Papers 17-06, Centre for International Trade and Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.
  • Handle: RePEc:ind:citdwp:17-06

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Murty, Sushama, 2010. "Externalities and fundamental nonconvexities: A reconciliation of approaches to general equilibrium externality modeling and implications for decentralization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(1), pages 331-353, January.
    2. Emir Malikov & Subal C. Kumbhakar & Efthymios G. Tsionas, 2015. "Bayesian Approach to Disentangling Technical and Environmental Productivity," Econometrics, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(2), pages 1-23, June.
    3. Benjamin Hampf, 2014. "Separating environmental efficiency into production and abatement efficiency: a nonparametric model with application to US power plants," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 457-473, June.
    4. Fare, R. & Grosskopf, S. & Pasurka, C., 1986. "Effects on relative efficiency in electric power generation due to environmental controls," Resources and Energy, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 167-184, June.
    5. Hampf, Benjamin, 2014. "Separating Environmental Efficiency into Production and Abatement Efficiency - A Nonparametric Model with Application to U.S. Power Plants," Publications of Darmstadt Technical University, Institute for Business Studies (BWL) 69997, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute for Business Studies (BWL).
    6. R. Russell & William Schworm, 2011. "Properties of inefficiency indexes on 〈input, output〉 space," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 143-156, October.
    7. Eric Njuki & Boris E. Bravo-Ureta, 2015. "The Economic Costs of Environmental Regulation in U.S. Dairy Farming: A Directional Distance Function Approach," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1087-1106.
    8. Murty, M.N. & Kumar, Surender, 2002. "Measuring the cost of environmentally sustainable industrial development in India: a distance function approach," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(3), pages 467-486, July.
    9. Zhou, P. & Ang, B.W. & Poh, K.L., 2008. "A survey of data envelopment analysis in energy and environmental studies," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 189(1), pages 1-18, August.
    10. Fare, Rolf, et al, 1989. "Multilateral Productivity Comparisons When Some Outputs Are Undesirable: A Nonparametric Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 90-98, February.
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