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Product Specialization, Efficiency and Productivity Change in the Spanish Insurance Industry


  • Hugo Fuentes
  • Emili Grifell-Tatjé
  • Sergio Perelman


In this paper we analyze the levels of technical efficiency and productivity growth attained by Spanish insurance companies during a period of deregulation. We compute Malmquist productivity indexes using the estimates of parametric distance function for several specialized insurance branches. In this way, we show that branch specialization matters a great deal and that firms combining two or three product lines (Health, Property-Liabilities and Life) perform better than firms operating in one insurance line exclusively. In the light of these results, we recommend that the remaining restrictions coming from the European Third Directives on the operations of multi-branch firms should be removed. Moreover, from a management point of view, it would be appropriate to encourage the creation of multi-branch insurance firms. However, in all cases, the estimated scores indicate low productivity growth (less than 2% per year) compared with a huge increase in insurance activity (premiums were multiplied by nearly 3 in a decade).

Suggested Citation

  • Hugo Fuentes & Emili Grifell-Tatjé & Sergio Perelman, 2005. "Product Specialization, Efficiency and Productivity Change in the Spanish Insurance Industry," CREPP Working Papers 0506, Centre de Recherche en Economie Publique et de la Population (CREPP) (Research Center on Public and Population Economics) HEC-Management School, University of Liège.
  • Handle: RePEc:rpp:wpaper:0506

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. O'Donnell, Christopher J. & Coelli, Timothy J., 2005. "A Bayesian approach to imposing curvature on distance functions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 126(2), pages 493-523, June.
    2. Jondrow, James & Knox Lovell, C. A. & Materov, Ivan S. & Schmidt, Peter, 1982. "On the estimation of technical inefficiency in the stochastic frontier production function model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 233-238, August.
    3. Burgess, John & Walker, Greg, 1982. "Returns to Scale in the Australian Life Insurance Industry: A Comment," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 58(162), pages 290-292, September.
    4. Battese, George E. & Coelli, Tim J., 1988. "Prediction of firm-level technical efficiencies with a generalized frontier production function and panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 387-399, July.
    5. Miguel Ángel Martínez & Irene Albárran & David Camino, 2001. "Executive Management in Insurance Entities: A Comparative Study of Mutual Companies and Joint-Stock Companies in Spain with a View to the 21st Century Market," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 26(2), pages 206-231, April.
    6. Lucio Fuentelsaz & Jaime Gomez, 2001. "Strategic and Queue effects on Entry in Spanish Banking," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(4), pages 529-563, December.
    7. Aigner, Dennis & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Peter, 1977. "Formulation and estimation of stochastic frontier production function models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 21-37, July.
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    1. repec:kap:jproda:v:49:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11123-017-0521-7 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Efficiency; parametric Malmquist index; output specialization; Spanish insurance;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies


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