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An Efficiency Comparison of Regional Employment Offices Operating under Different Exogenous Conditions


This paper investigates the technical efficiency differences of a sample of regional employment offices (REOs) across Swiss cantons. Regular job-search assistance, registration and matching of unemployed workers with job vacancies performed by employment offices are all important active labour market policies (ALMPs) which are often ignored in the literature evaluating the impact of active measures. The analysis is carried out by means of a stochastic production frontier model estimated on a panel of employment offices observed over the period between November 2000 and December 2001. The results show that the specific exogenous conditions exercise influence over the technical efficiency of each employment office. Even though these conditions affect significantly the relative performance of regional employment offices, the managerial efficiency component does remain important. Finally, the job placement process is characterised by decreasing returns to scale.


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Correspondence to José V. Ramirez.

Additional information

(Formerly: University of Geneva, Department of economics, Bd. Pont-d’Arve 40, 1205 Geneva)

The work underlying this paper stems from the National Research Programme 45 (Problems of the Welfare State) originated by the Swiss National Science Foundation (NSF). Financial support from the NSF is gratefully acknowledged. The authors would like to thank George Sheldon and an anonymous referee of this journal for constructive comments from which this paper has substantially benefited. All remaining errors are the author’s own.

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Ramirez, J.V., Vassiliev, A. An Efficiency Comparison of Regional Employment Offices Operating under Different Exogenous Conditions. Swiss J Economics Statistics 143, 31–48 (2007).

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  • Regional employment offices
  • technical efficiency
  • exogenous conditions
  • stochastic frontier production function

JEL classification

  • C23
  • D24
  • J68