Putting Out the Trash: Measuring Municipal Service Efficiency in U.S. Cities
30 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2003
Date Written: September 2003
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: Suggested Citation