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Luis Cesar Herrero-Prieto
Departamento de Economia Aplicada, Universidad de Valladolid (Spain)
Institute for International Integration Studies, Trinity College Dublin

IIIS Discussion Paper No. 425

The goal of the present work is to evaluate the efficiency of a regional system of museums, taken as an example of cultural institutions. We also explore the impact which certain exogenous factors, such as the institutional management model and location, can have on the efficiency level and the evolution of productivity. A non-parametric approach, Data Envelopment Analysis, is used to measure efficiency in these institutions, and we employ a complex production function embracing a number of inputs and outputs adapted to the various functions which museums fulfil: preservation, research, communication, and exhibition. An empirical analysis of data from a regional system of museums in Spain illustrates this application of the operational research model. The most important findings indicate that at least half the museums chosen operate efficiently. The most efficient museums are those located in urban areas and run by regional administration, rural museums under municipal management not proving so efficient. Quite significant progress is evident in the productivity of the first group of museums, mainly due to improvements in internal efficiency, basically own management of resources in relation to services provided. Contrastingly, as expected, technological change has less impact in these cultural heritage institutions, which prove less receptive to new technologies compared to other cultural industries. Finally, in an effort to enhance the overall efficiency thereof as well as the performance of each individual institution involved, the work seeks to evidence this technique's usefulness in establishing guidelines and offering recommendations concerning the use of resources.

Key Words: Efficiency evaluation, cultural institutions, economics of museums, Data Envelopment Analysis, conditional efficiency
JEL Codes: Z11, D61, H41



Last updated 28 August 2014 by IIIS (Email).