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Economies of scale and governance of library systems: evidence from West Virginia

Amir Borges Ferreira Neto and Joshua Hall

Economics of Governance, 2019, vol. 20, issue 3, No 2, 237-253

Abstract: Abstract Public libraries are a billion dollar industry in the United States. We explore the institutional determinants of public library technical efficiency using data from West Virginia. We first document considerable cross-district variation in library efficiency. While the average library district in our sample is between 81 and 90% efficient depending upon the year and measure, there are many district-years that are under 50%. We then explain our technical efficiency measures as a function of institutional variables reflecting the type of district and sources of funding. We find consistent evidence that urban libraries are more inefficient, perhaps because they are too small to achieve sufficient economies-of-scale in production of library services. In addition, we find revenue from local sources is associated with reduced efficiency, contrary to what would be predicted by local public goods producer theory.

Keywords: Data envelopment analysis; Efficiency; Government; Public libraries (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H41 H76 I29 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Working Paper: Economies of Scale and Governance of Library Systems: Evidence from West Virginia (2017) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1007/s10101-018-0215-2

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