How not to measure the efficiency of public services (and how one might)


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Summary. The single-input case of the ‘technical efficiency’ theory of M. J. Farrell is reformulated geometrically and algebraically. Its linear programming developments as ‘data envelopment analysis’ are critically reviewed, as are the related techniques of ‘stochastic frontier analysis’. The sense and realism of using data envelopment analysis or stochastic frontier analysis techniques, rather than some value-based method, for the assessment of police force efficiency are questioned with reference to the Spottiswoode report and related studies.