Efficiency and productivity analysis: empirical applications in cultural economics and transport economics and a methodological contribution
In this thesis some tools from the literature in efficiency and productivity analysis are relied upon to assess the economic performance of two sectors: the state-recognised museums in Denmark and the urban public transport systems in four Latin American countries. These sectors are regulated and partly funded by the state, hence these analyses are important not only from an academic perspective but also in terms of their policy implications. This thesis comprises an introductory chapter, three separate but related papers and a concluding chapter. The first paper analyses with stochastic frontier models the influence public funding may have on the technical efficiency of museums, considering the multiple cultural and educational services delivered by these organisations. The second paper (coauthored with Arne Henningsen) develops and tests an input-oriented stochastic ray function, which is suitable for the analysis with logarithmic functions of sectors where control over inputs is greater than that over outputs and where some productive entities do not produce the entire set of outputs, a problem that is pervasive in various economic sectors. We also address a critique the ray function has been subject to and demonstrate how to impose monotonicity conditions to its input-oriented version. We test the methodology with the same database as that of the first paper. The third paper (co-authored with Andrés Gómez-Lobo) applies a theory originally proposed in cultural economics (the Baumol Cost Disease) to the transport sector. This theory states that whenever labour productivity is stagnant, labour-saving technical change is rather absent and labour markets are integrated, costs increase in relation to those of the general economy, which in the case of transit systems generates significant fiscal pressures. The paper tests this proposition, as well as possible (partial) solutions to the problem, using data for four less-developed countries, contributing to a body of literature that, besides being scarce, has focused only in developed countries.