IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Regularization of Nonparametric Frontier Estimators


  • Daouia, Abdelaati
  • Florens, Jean-Pierre
  • Simar, Léopold


In production theory and efficiency analysis, we are interested in estimating the production frontier which is the locus of the maximal attainable level of an output (the production), given a set of inputs (the production factors). In other setups, we are rather willing to estimate an input (or cost) frontier that is defined as the minimal level of the input (cost) attainable for a given set of outputs (goods or services produced). In both cases the problem can be viewed as estimating a surface under shape constraints (monotonicity, . . . ). In this paper we derive the theory of an estimator of the frontier having an asymptotic normal distribution. The basic tool is the order-m partial frontier where we let the order m to converge to infinity when n ! 1 but at a slow rate. The final estimator is then corrected for its inherent bias. We thus can view our estimator as a regularized frontier estimator which, in addition, is more robust to extreme values and outliers than the usual nonparametric frontier estimators, like FDH. The performances of our estimators are evaluated in finite samples through some Monte-Carlo experiments. We illustrate also how to provide, in an easy way, confidence intervals for the frontier function both with a simulated data set and a real data set.

Suggested Citation

  • Daouia, Abdelaati & Florens, Jean-Pierre & Simar, Léopold, 2009. "Regularization of Nonparametric Frontier Estimators," TSE Working Papers 10-168, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  • Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:22821

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daouia, Abdelaati & Simar, Léopold, 2005. "Robust nonparametric estimators of monotone boundaries," Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 311-331, October.
    2. Aragon, Y. & Daouia, A. & Thomas-Agnan, C., 2005. "Nonparametric Frontier Estimation: A Conditional Quantile-Based Approach," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(02), pages 358-389, April.
    3. Daouia, Abdelaati & Florens, Jean-Pierre & Simar, Léopold, 2009. "Frontier Estimation and Extreme Values Theory," TSE Working Papers 10-165, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    4. Kneip, Alois & Simar, Léopold & Wilson, Paul W., 2008. "Asymptotics And Consistent Bootstraps For Dea Estimators In Nonparametric Frontier Models," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(06), pages 1663-1697, December.
    5. Kneip, Alois & Park, Byeong U. & Simar, L opold, 1998. "A Note On The Convergence Of Nonparametric Dea Estimators For Production Efficiency Scores," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(06), pages 783-793, December.
    6. repec:hal:journl:peer-00796744 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Daouia, Abdelaati & Gijbels, Irène, 2011. "Robustness and inference in nonparametric partial frontier modeling," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 161(2), pages 147-165, April.
    8. Daouia, Abdelaati & Simar, Leopold, 2007. "Nonparametric efficiency analysis: A multivariate conditional quantile approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 375-400, October.
    9. Cazals, Catherine & Florens, Jean-Pierre & Simar, Leopold, 2002. "Nonparametric frontier estimation: a robust approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 1-25, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Florens, Jean-Pierre & Schwarz, Maik & Van Bellegem, Sébastien, 2010. "Nonparametric Frontier Estimation from Noisy Data," IDEI Working Papers 625, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    2. Girard, Stéphane & Guillou, Armelle & Stupfler, Gilles, 2013. "Frontier estimation with kernel regression on high order moments," Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 172-189.
    3. Xia, X.H. & Chen, Y.B. & Li, J.S. & Tasawar, H. & Alsaedi, A. & Chen, G.Q., 2014. "Energy regulation in China: Objective selection, potential assessment and responsibility sharing by partial frontier analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 292-302.
    4. repec:sbe:breart:v:33:y:2013:i:2:a:26508 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Florens, Jean-Pierre & Simoni, Anna, 2016. "Regularizing Priors For Linear Inverse Problems," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(01), pages 71-121, February.
    6. Daouia, Abdelaati & Florens, Jean-Pierre & Simar, Léopold, 2016. "Robust frontier estimation from noisy data: a Tikhonov regularization approach," TSE Working Papers 16-665, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Feb 2018.
    7. Cazals, Catherine & Fève, Frédérique & Florens, Jean-Pierre & Simar, Léopold, 2016. "Nonparametric instrumental variables estimation for efficiency frontier," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 190(2), pages 349-359.
    8. repec:kap:jculte:v:41:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10824-017-9295-z is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Daouia, Abdelaati & Laurent, Thibault & Noh, Hohsuk, 2015. "npbr: A Package for Nonparametric Boundary Regression in R," TSE Working Papers 15-576, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    10. Song, Junmo & Oh, Dong-hyun & Kang, Jiwon, 2017. "Robust estimation in stochastic frontier models," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 243-267.
    11. Daouia, Abdelaati & Florens, Jean-Pierre & Simar, Léopold, 2018. "Robustified expected maximum production frontiers," TSE Working Papers 17-890, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    12. Léopold Simar & Paul W. Wilson, 2015. "Statistical Approaches for Non-parametric Frontier Models: A Guided Tour," International Statistical Review, International Statistical Institute, vol. 83(1), pages 77-110, April.
    13. Simar, Léopold & Vanhems, Anne, 2012. "Probabilistic characterization of directional distances and their robust versions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 166(2), pages 342-354.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:22821. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.