Malmquist productivity index for multi-output producers: An application to electricity generation plants

Barnabé Walheer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Different types of plants are used to generate electricity in the US: single-, multi-, and mixed-electricity plants. In this paper, we question the best type/design of plants for both renewable and non-renewable electricity. To do so, we suggest a new index that takes the form of a Malmquist productivity index. The specificity of our new index is that it offers the option to investigate the performances and the causes of the performance changes for each type of electricity separately; this is not possible when relying on more standard indexes. Moreover, our new index takes the links between the inputs and the outputs into account, and is nonparametric in nature. Using our index, we study the performances of more than 5000 plants for the period 2000–2012. Our findings reveal that single-electricity plants perform better for renewable electricity, while multi-electricity plants perform better for non-renewable electricity. This is coherent with the decreasing importance of multi-electricity plants in the US, and the increasing importance of single-electricity plants producing renewable electricity. Furthermore, our results do not suggest that combining renewable and non-renewable electricity generations within a plant improves the performance of the plants. Finally, we demonstrate that the reasons for the changes in performance are different for each type of electricity and plant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-88
Number of pages13
JournalSocio-Economic Planning Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Allocation
  • Electricity
  • Malmquist productivity index
  • Multi-output
  • Output-specific technology
  • Technical efficiency


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