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Ownership, business models and operational efficiency: a non-parametric analysis of Italian airports

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Airports; Efficiency; Meta-Frontier; Business Model; DEA.

This paper reports the results of an empirical study which investigated whether some heterogeneities affect the performance of the airport industry in Italy. Sample includes 45 Italian airports. Heterogeneities are assumed to be induced by the ownership structure of airport operating companies and the business models adopted. The study is focused on one performance dimension - the operational or technical efficiency - measured by implementing non-parametric techniques based on "Data Envelopment" Analysis and two complementary approaches. In the first approach, heterogeneities relative to the ownership structure and business model are taken into account "a priori", adopting a specification of the production function based on the meta-frontier conceptualization. It is assumed that airports adopting different business models and/or operated by companies having different ownership structure have different production functions. In the second approach, heterogeneities determined by the ownership structure and business model are accounted for by implementing a two-step DEA procedure "a-posteriori", by assuming that airports use a common production function based on the same technology. In the first step, airport efficiency is measured independently of the operators' ownership structure and business model; in the second step, the influence of such heterogeneities on airport efficiency is estimated. Results reveal that the heterogeneities linked to ownership and business model may have a non-negligible effect on the measurement of airport efficiency that the adoption of a one single specification for the production function of different airports does not allow taking into account when a two-step DEA procedure is implemented.

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