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European regional efficiency and geographical externalities: a spatial nonparametric frontier analysis

Julian Ramajo (), José Manuel Cordero and Miguel Ángel Márquez
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José Manuel Cordero: University of Extremadura
Miguel Ángel Márquez: University of Extremadura

Journal of Geographical Systems, 2017, vol. 19, issue 4, 319-348

Abstract: Abstract This paper analyses region-level technical efficiency in nine European countries over the 1995–2007 period. We propose the application of a nonparametric conditional frontier approach to account for the presence of heterogeneous conditions in the form of geographical externalities. Such environmental factors are beyond the control of regional authorities, but may affect the production function. Therefore, they need to be considered in the frontier estimation. Specifically, a spatial autoregressive term is included as an external conditioning factor in a robust order-m model. Thus we can test the hypothesis of non-separability (the external factor impacts both the input–output space and the distribution of efficiencies), demonstrating the existence of significant global interregional spillovers into the production process. Our findings show that geographical externalities affect both the frontier level and the probability of being more or less efficient. Specifically, the results support the fact that the spatial lag variable has an inverted U-shaped non-linear impact on the performance of regions. This finding can be interpreted as a differential effect of interregional spillovers depending on the size of the neighboring economies: positive externalities for small values, possibly related to agglomeration economies, and negative externalities for high values, indicating the possibility of production congestion. Additionally, evidence of the existence of a strong geographic pattern of European regional efficiency is reported and the levels of technical efficiency are acknowledged to have converged during the period under analysis.

Keywords: Conditional efficiency; Geographical externalities; Nonparametric econometrics; Robust frontier analysis; Regions; Europe (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C14 C23 D24 R11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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