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Does Size influence Jail Efficiency?: A Metafrontier analyisis of local Jails in the United States

Alda, Erik (2019): Does Size influence Jail Efficiency?: A Metafrontier analyisis of local Jails in the United States.

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Abstract

This study examines the efficiency of local jails for the year 2016. It employs a well-known non-parametric methodology (DEA) with metafrontiers. Metafrontiers envelop separate groups that have similar production technology and therefore allows for more accurate efficiency estimates. Using an input-oriented model with variable returns to scale, the results of this study suggest that, on average, jails could reduce or reallocate their inputs by 37% given their output level. Also, there are differences in efficiency between groups that operate on different production technologies. The group of small jails appears to operate more efficiently than the groups of large and mega-large jails. From a managerial perspective, this study presents evidence that jail managers need to assess more carefully how they allocate human and financial resources to try to improve operational efficiency. From a policy perspective, the results indicate that there is room for cost-saving approaches to maximize taxpayer dollars.

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