Journal of Public Administration vol:7 issue:3 pages:71-106
In these times of austerity, local governments are expected to deliver services in the most efficient and effective way. In order to achieve this objective, a greater emphasis is being placed on performance measurement tools in local governments. A widely used form of performance measurement is benchmarking. Within this context, the article aims to demonstrate how benchmarking can be used as an instrument for assessing and improving the performance of local service delivery. Two nonparametric frontier techniques, Free Disposal Hull (FDH) and Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), are used to benchmark local government performance in relative terms. The capabilities of the nonparametric frontier approach for benchmarking are explored by applying FDH and DEA models on four cases of local public libraries in Flanders. By incorporating all possible paths of expansion – both in space and in time – into one study, this integrated efficiency analysis can help entities to evolve towards benchlearning and improvement trajectories.