Measuring Productivity of Research in Economics. A Cross-Country Study Using DEA
Using a sample of 21 OECD-countries we measure productivity in top-edge economic research by using data envelopment analysis (DEA). DEA is a tool for evaluating relative efficiency and is widely used when there are multiple inputs and outputs and one lacks a specific functional form of a production function. The publications in 10 economics journals with the highest average impact factor over the time period 1980-1998 are taken as research output. Inputs are measured by R&D expenditures, number of universities with economics departments and (as uncontrolled variable) total population. Under constant returns-to-scale the USA are in dominant position with remarkable distance to other countries. Under variable returns-to-scale the efficiency frontier is created by the USA with most productive scale size (MPSS), and by Ireland and New Zealand, which are technical efficient but scale inefficient. All countries - except the USA - display increasing returns-to-scale, which shows that they have a possibility to improve their efficiency by scaling up their research activities.
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