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Putting out the Trash: Measuring Municipal Service Efficiency in U.S. Cities

30 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2003  

James F. Nolan

University of Saskatchewan - College of Agriculture - Agricultural Economics

Adrian T. Moore

Reason Foundation

Geoffrey Segal

Reason Public Policy Institute - Department of Economic Studies

Date Written: September 2003

Abstract

There is a considerable literature describing the performance of municipal services that often uses imperfect or partial measures of efficiency. Data envelopment analysis (DEA) has emerged as an effective tool for measuring the relative efficiency of public service provision. This paper uses DEA to measure the relative efficiency of 11 municipal services in 46 of the largest cities in the United States over a period of 6 years. In addition, this information is used to explore efficiency differences between cities and services and provide input into a statistical analysis to explore factors that may explain differences in efficiency between cities. Finally, we discuss municipal governments' use of performance measures and problems with collecting municipal data for benchmarking.

Keywords: Efficiency, performance measurement, municipal governance, municipal budgets

JEL Classification: H7, R5

Suggested Citation

Nolan, James F. and Moore, Adrian T. and Segal, Geoffrey, Putting out the Trash: Measuring Municipal Service Efficiency in U.S. Cities (September 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=448860 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.448860

James F. Nolan (Contact Author)

University of Saskatchewan - College of Agriculture - Agricultural Economics ( email )

51 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A8
Canada
306-966-8412 (Phone)

Adrian T. Moore

Reason Foundation ( email )

3415 S. Sepulveda Blvd. #400
Los Angeles, CA 90034-6064
310-391-2245 (Phone)

Geoffrey Segal

Reason Public Policy Institute - Department of Economic Studies ( email )

3415 S. Sepulveda Blvd. #400
Los Angeles, CA 90034-6064
310-391-2245 (Phone)

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