This master/phd level intensive course was given in collaboration with Department of Forest Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Science (SLU), the Centre for Environmental and Resource Economics (CERE), and Umeå University (UmU). Main instructor: Tommy Lundgren (SLU/UmU/CERE) Computer exercises: Golnaz Amjadi, Zhou Wenchao (UmU/CERE/CERUM).
The course began with a review of production theory. We then looked at productivity and efficiency measurement from a conceptual perspective (set-representation, distance functions, etc.). Special attention was put on Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA), the two most common methods of empirical applications in productivity and efficiency measurement. Substantial focus was on how to incorporate undesirable (bad) outputs in the technology. The students were taught how to use SFA and DEA in order to estimate and compute eco-productivity and various environmental performance measurements using STATA and R.
Participants included students from the USBE master program in Environmental and Resource Economics, a ph d student from Umeå University, and three students from abroad (South Africa, Austria, Canada). Professors Finn Försund (Oslo University) and Luis Orea (Oviedo Efficiency Group), both experts in the field of production economics and productivity/efficiency measurement, visited during the week to give lectures and interact with the students. This was a fruitful and meaningful exchange for students, teachers, and guests. Upon being asked to assess the course, some of the students’ comments were:
“ ... the theoretical rigor was at the right level, the SFA and DEA labs provided meaning to many abstract concepts: there exists such a huge difference in terms of comprehension between ‘seeing’ the formula for an index and practically computing the index using software”
“I learned a lot this week, and the course material is very helpful for my research project ...”
“I think it was good that it was showed how the actual methodologies was related to the research questions”
The mix of theory, empirical applications, and guest lectures was a popular concept that will be adopted also next year in December when the course is scheduled to be given next time.