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Nonparametric Measures of Scale Economies and Capacity Utilization: An Application to U.S. Manufacturing

  • Subhash C. Ray

    (University of Connecticut)

An economic measure of scale efficiency is the ratio of the minimum average cost to the average cost at the actual output level of a firm. It is easily measured by the ratio of the total cost of this output under the constant and variable returns to scale assumptions. This procedure does not identify the output level where the average cost reaches a minimum. This paper proposes a nonparametric method of measuring this output level using DEA. The relation between this efficient production scale, the short run physical capacity output, and the most productive scale size (MPSS) is also discussed. An empirical application using state level data from U.S. manufacturing is used to illustrate the procedure.

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File URL: http://web2.uconn.edu/economics/working/2013-09.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2013-09.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2013-09
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Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/

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  1. Berndt, Ernst R & Morrison, Catherine J, 1981. "Capacity Utilization Measures: Underlying Economic Theory and an Alternative Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 48-52, May.
  2. Fare, Rolf & Grosskopf, Shawna & Kokkelenberg, Edward C, 1989. "Measuring Plant Capacity, Utilization and Technical Change: A Nonparametric Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(3), pages 655-66, August.
  3. 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.
  4. Segerson, Kathleen & Squires, Dale, 1990. "On the measurement of economic capacity utilization for multi-product industries," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 347-361, June.
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