On the determinants of local government performance: A two-stage nonparametric approach

Maria Teresa Balaguer-Coll, Diego Prior, Emili Tortosa-Ausina

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    147 Citations (Scopus)


    This article analyzes the efficiency of local governments in the Comunitat Valenciana (Spain) and their main explanatory variables. The analysis is performed in two stages. Firstly, efficiency is measured via (nonparametric) activity analysis techniques. Specifically, we consider both Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and Free Disposable Hull (FDH) techniques. The second stage identifies some critical determinants of efficiency, focusing on both political and fiscal policy variables. In contrast to previous two-stage research studies, our approach performs the latter attempt via nonparametric smoothing techniques, rather than econometric methods such as OLS or Tobit related techniques. Results show that efficiency scores, especially under the nonconvexity assumption (FDH), are higher for large municipalities. Thus, there is empirical evidence to suggest that resources may be better allocated by large municipalities. However, the inefficiency found is not entirely attributable to poor management, as second-stage analysis reveals both fiscal and political variables to be explicably related to municipality performance. Moreover, the explanatory variables' impact on efficiency is robust to the chosen technique-either convex DEA or nonconvex FDH. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)425-451
    JournalEuropean Economic Review
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2007


    • Efficiency
    • Kernel smoothing
    • Local government
    • Nonparametric regression


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