Agriculture's environmental externalities: DEA evidence for French agriculture
The existence of persistent technical inefficiency offers the opportunity for a 'free lunch' not typically implied by the neoclassical theory of the firm. When external effects are related to the use of particular inputs, reduction of persistent technically inefficient levels of input use represents a means of reducing external impacts. An important example is found in agriculture where substantial environmental impacts are generated by particular inputs. Within this context, this paper considers the usefulness of data envelopment analysis (DEA) for estimation of potential input reductions and assessment of potential reductions of environmental impacts of agricultural inputs. An application for French cereal production provides estimates that indicate that substantial potential exists for reduction of input use and environmental impacts.