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Efficiency measures and productivity indexes in the context of university library benchmarking

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Data envelopment analysis (DEA) has attracted considerable attention during the last few decades as an intuitively clear method for performance assessment. Theoretical developments have taken turns with empirical efficiency studies. In this paper we empirically analyse performance differences across university libraries from different countries from a cross-section and a longitudinal perspective. We use the Malmquist index approach to disentangle environmental efficiency from technical efficiency (TE) to highlight performance differences eventually induced by environmental factors beyond the control of library management, as well as to decompose productivity changes over time into changes in TE and changes in technology. In our cross-section analysis we found that North American (NA) libraries are more productive at higher input levels than the European libraries from Germany and Austria at which we looked in this contribution. Moreover, the largest NA libraries are still able to improve performance, as the results of panel data analysis revealed.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Information Science and Information Systems and Department of Finance, Graz University, Austria

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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