Vertical Grants and Local Public Efficiency
Public Finance Review,
The existing empirical literature on the impact of vertical grants on local public-sector efficiency yields mixed results. Given the fact that vertical financial equalization systems often reduce differences in fiscal capacity, we argue that empirical studies based on cross-sectional data may yield a positive relationship between grants and efficiency of public service production even when the underlying causal effect is not. We provide a simple illustrative theoretical model to show the logic of our argument and illustrate its relevance by an empirical case study for the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. We show that our main argument of an inference-disturbing effect applies to those existing studies that are more optimistic about the impact of vertical grants. Finally, we argue that it may disturb the inference drawn from studies in a number of other countries where vertical grants—intended or not—concentrate in fiscally weak municipalities.
The Efficiency of Local Public-service Production: The Effect of Political Institutions
Reforms replacing municipal cooperations by centralized municipalities often aim at increasing municipal efficiency. Empirical evidence supporting this aim, however, is ambiguous. Our paper analyzes the effect of institutions on municipal efficiency. In particular, we distinguish two archetypal institutional settings, a centralized and a confederal one, and argue that bureaucrats in a centralized setting are able to increase the fiscal residual. Our empirical test case is the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. We test the effect of the institutional setup using the bootstrap approach suggested by Simar and Wilson (2007), concluding that a decentralized institutional setting improves the efficiency of municipal production.
Stress Testing and Bank Efficiency: Evidence from Europe
International Journal of Corporate Finance and Accounting,
This study examines whether and how the stress testing of European banks in 2010, 2011, and 2014 is related to their technical, allocative, and cost efficiency. Using a sample of large commercial banks operating in 20 European countries, and Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), the authors perform comparisons between banks that were included in one of the three European stress tests and untested banks operating in the same countries. They estimate various specifications as for the inputs and outputs, cross-section and pooled estimations, and they also examine alternative samples as for the ownership of banks. In general, the authors conclude that banks included in the stress-test exercises are more efficient that their counterparties. The differences tend to be statistically significant in the case of allocative efficiency and cost efficiency, but not in the case of technical efficiency. With regards to the latter form of efficiency, the results depend upon the specification and the stress test in question.
Effects of Specification Choices on Efficiency in DEA and SFA
Efficiency and Productivity Growth: Modelling in the Financial Services Industry,
This chapter assesses the sensitivity of bank cost-efficiency scores obtained with stochastic frontier analysis and data envelopment analysis. We compare CE scores of either type for a large cross-country sample of EU banks from 1996 until 2010. The results show that CE measures differ considerably depending on specification choices across parametric and nonparametric methods. The chapter documents the reasons for these differences in terms of theoretical, sample, and further specification choices.
Size is not everything – The efficiency of municipal service provision in Saxony-Anhalt
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
The proponents of municipal area reforms – e.g. the recently completed reform in Saxony-Anhalt – expect that municipal amalgamations or centralized organizational forms save costs or increase the efficiency of local public service provision. This article examines the potential efficiency deficits of Saxony-Anhalt´s fragmented municipal structures on the eve of the crucial phase of the municipal reform. The results of a two-step DEA bootstrap procedure show that decentralized municipalities (“Verwaltungsgemeinschaften”) do not have to be significantly less efficient than centralized municipalities (“Einheitsgemeinden”). Furthermore, the results of the scale efficiency analysis suggest that the majority of Saxony-Anhalt´s communities already had an approximately efficient “firm size” – if the aggregated level of the municipal associations is examined. The relationship between scale efficiency and population is U-shaped. On the one hand, the results do not support the preservation of micro-municipalities or the formation of municipal associations with more than ten members. On the other hand, the results provide also no evidence for the necessity to reduce the number of towns and municipalities in Saxony-Anhalt from 1118 in 2004 to currently 219 – even if the looming population decline is taken into account.
Effects of “Democratic Control” on the Efficiency of Local Public Enterprises: Empirical Evidence for Water Suppliers in Eastern Germany
Public Finance and Management,
This paper deals with the effects of interference by local governments on the business affairs of publicly owned utilities. A partial model is presented to illustrate the consequences of “democratic control” on the public managers’ effort and the efficiency of local public production. To empirically check the theoretical results, a two-stage data envelopment analysis (DEA) was carried out on a sample of Eastern German water suppliers. The organizational form is used in the regression analysis to measure the degree of municipal control. The results of the OLS- and Tobit regression indicate an efficiency-enhancing effect on organizational forms with less distinctive control options for local politicians.
Local Government Control and Efficiency of the Water Industry: An Empirical Analysis of Water Suppliers in East Germany
IWH Discussion Papers,
The paper deals with the effects of local governments’ interference with business affairs of publicly owned utilities. A partial model is presented to illustrate the consequences of “democratic control” for the public managers’ effort and the efficiency of local public production. To check the theoretical results empirically, a two-stage data envelopment analysis (DEA) is carried out for a sample of East German water suppliers. The organisational form is used as a measure for the degree of municipal control. The results of the OLS- and Tobit regression indicate an efficiency-enhancing effect of organisational forms with less distinctive control options for local politicians.