2020Diskussionspapier DOI: 10.18452/22358
Environmental efficiency measurement when producers control pollutants under heterogeneous conditions: a generalization of the materials balance approach
This article provides a generalization of the materials balance-based production model introduced by Coelli et al. (2007). Based on this, some new environmental efficiency (EE) measures are presented. The Coelli et al. (2007) EE measure and its extension by Rødseth (2016) produce biased efficiency estimates if the material flow coefficients (MFCs) are heterogeneous across decision-making units and non-discretionary. Furthermore, the Coelli et al. (2007) measure fails to reward emission reductions by emission control. To overcome these shortcomings, this paper proposes production models which allow for heterogeneous MFCs reflecting differences of external environmental factors or non-controllable heterogeneities in inputs and outputs, and which properly take into account emission abatement activities. Based on this, we provide new EE measures and decompose them into i) a part reflecting emission control efficiency (ECE), ii) a part measuring material input efficiency (MIE), and iii) a part reflecting the efficient allocation between material and non-material inputs (environmental allocative efficiency, EAE). The approach is illustrated by an empirical application to arable farming in Austria utilizing data from 90 farms for the year 2011. Soil erosion is considered an undesirable output and land a material input. The average EE, ECE, MIE, and EAE are 0.53, 0.96, 0.69, and 0.79, respectively. The results indicate that actual output can be potentially achieved with 47% less soil loss. Most of the potential to improve EE is due to differences in MIE and EAE. Removing inefficiencies in the implementation of existing, subsidized erosion controls allows soil loss to be reduced by 4%.