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How far are Portuguese prisons inefficient? A non-parametric approach


  • Marques, Rui
  • Simões, Pedro


In Portugal, as worldwide, especially in the past decades, crime has become an issue of increasing interest both for society and researchers. The global growth of criminality had several repercussions in the prison system. The most direct one was the overcrowding of prisons. This situation required a great amount of investment to increase the capacity of Portuguese prisons. Simultaneously, the value for money associated with the prisons’ budget has turned itself more and more relevant. These circumstances together emphasize the importance of assessing the prisons’ performance. This study measures the efficiency of Portuguese prison facilities by means of the non-parametric benchmarking approach of data envelopment analysis (DEA). However, due to the limitations of this technique, a bootstrap methodology is also applied in order to add more robustness to the results. Furthermore, a recent procedure is computed to evaluate congestion. The results show relevant levels of inefficiency in the Portuguese prison facilities, which represent an excess of several millions of Euros spent inadequately in this sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Marques, Rui & Simões, Pedro, 2009. "How far are Portuguese prisons inefficient? A non-parametric approach," MPRA Paper 19565, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:19565

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pedro Simões & Rui Cunha Marques, 2009. "Influence of Congestion Efficiency on the European Seaports Performance: Does It Matter?," Transport Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(4), pages 517-539, July.
    2. Kenneth Avio, 1998. "The Economics of Prisons," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 143-175, September.
    3. Tone, Kaoru & Sahoo, Biresh K., 2004. "Degree of scale economies and congestion: A unified DEA approach," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 158(3), pages 755-772, November.
    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. Miguel St. Aubyn, 2008. "Law and Order Efficiency Measurement – A Literature Review," Working Papers Department of Economics 2008/19, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    6. Léopold Simar & Paul W. Wilson, 1998. "Sensitivity Analysis of Efficiency Scores: How to Bootstrap in Nonparametric Frontier Models," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(1), pages 49-61, January.
    7. 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.
    8. Tone, Kaoru, 2001. "A slacks-based measure of efficiency in data envelopment analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 130(3), pages 498-509, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hall, Maximilian J.B. & Liu, Wenbin B. & Simper, Richard & Zhou, Zhongbao, 2013. "The economic efficiency of rehabilitative management in young offender institutions in England and Wales," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 38-49.

    More about this item


    Bootstrap; Congestion; DEA; Efficiency; Portugal; Prison facilities;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General


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