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An Examination of Alternative Approaches to Measuring Congestion in British Universities

Author

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  • Tony Flegg

    () (School of Economics, University of the West of England)

  • David O. Allen

    (School of Economics, University of the West of England)

Abstract

This paper examines three alternative methods of measuring congestion, from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. These methods are the conventional approach of Färe and Grosskopf, the alternative proposed by Cooper et al., and a new method developed by Tone and Sahoo. Each method is found to have merits and demerits. The properties of the different methods are examined using data for 45 British universities in the period 1980/81 to 1992/93. Despite conceptual differences, Tone and Sahoo’s approach and that of Cooper et al. are found to produce fairly similar results. Contrary to expectations, Färe and Grosskopf’s approach generally indicates more congestion than the other two procedures. The main reason for this is identified as being its use of CRS rather than VRS as the assumed technology. Although the three alternative measures of congestion are found to be positively correlated, the correlations are not strong enough for them to be regarded as substitutes. Also contrary to expectations, the results suggest that academic overstaffing, rather than excessive numbers of undergraduates, was the largest single cause of congestion in British universities during the period under review. Even so, only a modest amount of congestion is identified.

Suggested Citation

  • Tony Flegg & David O. Allen, 2006. "An Examination of Alternative Approaches to Measuring Congestion in British Universities," Working Papers 0606, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwe:wpaper:0606
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    File URL: http://carecon.org.uk/DPs/0606.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cooper, William W. & Seiford, Lawrence M. & Zhu, Joe, 2000. "A unified additive model approach for evaluating inefficiency and congestion with associated measures in DEA," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 1-25, March.
    2. Fare, R. & Grosskopf, S. & Logan, J., 1985. "The relative performance of publicly-owned and privately-owned electric utilities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 89-106, February.
    3. Oulton,Nicholas & O'Mahony,Mary, 1994. "Productivity and Growth," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521453455.
    4. Cherchye, Laurens & Kuosmanen, Timo & Post, Thierry, 2001. "Alternative treatments of congestion in DEA: A rejoinder to Cooper, Gu, and Li," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 75-80, July.
    5. Rolf Färe & Shawna Grosskopf, 2000. "Research Note. Decomposing Technical Efficiency with Care," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(1), pages 167-168, January.
    6. 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.
    7. A. T. Flegg & D. O. Allen & K. Field & T. W. Thurlow, 2004. "Measuring the efficiency of British universities: a multi-period data envelopment analysis," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 231-249.
    8. Cooper, W. W. & Gu, Bisheng & Li, Shanling, 2001. "Comparisons and evaluations of alternative approaches to the treatment of congestion in DEA," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 62-74, July.
    9. P. Byrnes & R. Färe & S. Grosskopf, 1984. "Measuring Productive Efficiency: An Application to Illinois Strip Mines," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(6), pages 671-681, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tony Flegg & David O. Allen, 2006. "Does Expansion Cause Congestion? The Case of the Older British Universities, 1994 to 2004," Working Papers 0605, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
    2. Tony Flegg & David O. Allen, 2006. "Are the New British Universities Congested?," Working Papers 0610, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
    3. 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.

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    Keywords

    British universities; congestion; DEA; Methods;

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