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Technical, allocative and economic efficiency measures are derived for a sample of swine producers in Hawaii using the parametric stochastic efficiency decomposition technique and nonparametric data envelopment analysis (DEA). Efficiency measures obtained from the two frontier approaches are compared. Firm-specific factors affecting productive efficiencies are also analyzed. Finally, swine producers' potential for reducing cost through improved efficiency is also examined. Under the specification of variable returns to scale (VRS), the mean technical, allocative and economic efficiency indices are 75.9%, 75.8% and 57.1%, respectively, for the paramettic approach and 75.9%, 80.3% and 60.3% for DEA; while for the constant returns to scale (CRS) they are 74.5%, 73.9% and 54.7%, respectively, for the parametric approach and 64.3%, 71.4% and 45.7% for DEA. Thus the results from both approaches reveal considerable inefficiencies in swine production in Hawaii. The removal of potential outliers increases the technical efficiencies in the parametric approach and allocative efficiencies in DEA, but, overall, contrary to popular belief, the results obtained from DEA are found to be more robust than those from the parametric approach. The estimated mean technical and economic efficiencies obtained from the paramettic technique are higher than those from DEA for CRS models but quite similar for VRS models, while allocative efficiencies are generally higher in DEA. However, the efficiency rankings of the sample producers based on the two approaches are highly correlated, with the highest correlation being achieved for the technical efficiency rankings under CRS. Based on mean compaiison and rank correlation analyses, the return to scale assumption is found to be crucial in assessing the similarities or differences in efficiency measures obtained from the two approaches. Analysis of the role of various firm-specific factors on productive efficiency shows that farm size has strong positive effects on efficiency levels. Similarly, farms producing market hogs are more efficient than those producing feeder pigs. Based on these results, by operating at the efficient frontier the sample swine producers would be able to reduce their production costs by 38-46% depending upon the method and returns to scale considered. © 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.


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