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The efficiency of museums: a stochastic frontier production function approach

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This article examines the technical efficiency of museums based upon data derived from a questionnaire survey of South West England. A stochastic frontier production function is estimated with output measured in terms of visitor numbers. The Cobb-Douglas function is shown to be the best representation of the production function. Average levels of efficiency are estimated to be fairly low at 45.5% with wide variations across museums. The results indicate that high levels of public funding and voluntary activity have a significantly negative impact on technical efficiency. It is argued that further research is needed to develop more sophisticated measures of the output of cultural industries and understand the economic importance of volunteers.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Business School, Cookworthy House, Drake Circus, University of Plymouth, PL4 8AA, UK

Publication date: 2003-11-20

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