Efficiency and productivity change of regional tax offices in Spain: an empirical study using Malmquist–Luenberger and Luenberger indices

  • Juan Aparicio
  • Jose Manuel CorderoEmail author
  • Carlos Díaz-Caro


The paper presents an innovative empirical application to assess the efficiency of regional tax offices in Spain. The existing evidence about the performance of those administrative units is still limited; thus, our aim is to contribute to extend this line of research by incorporating three relevant issues into our empirical analysis. First, we consider the number of complaints against tax authority decisions as a quality measure of tax management. Since the evaluated units should aim to minimize the number of complaints, this variable represents an undesirable output; thus, we define a model that is adaptable to the special features of this unconventional output. Second, our empirical analysis covers the period 2005–2014; thus, we can analyze the productivity change across this 10-year period including different phases of the economic cycle. Finally, seeking robustness, we use enhanced versions of the Malmquist–Luenberger productivity index and the Luenberger productivity indicator that allow us to overcome some of the drawbacks suffered by the original approach. The results obtained with both indices are very similar and indicate that during the evaluated period tax offices suffered a slight worsening in terms of productivity, especially during the years previous to the economic crisis (2005–2008). This regression was mainly due to the technical regression experienced by the majority of units during those years.


Efficiency Tax offices Public management Productivity change Administrative services Operations research 

JEL Classification

H21 H71 C61 



J.M. Cordero and C. Díaz-Caro thank the financial support from the Junta de Extremadura through Grant IB16171. J. Aparicio thanks the financial support from the Spanish Ministry for Economy and Competitiveness (Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad), the State Research Agency (Agencia Estatal de Investigación) and the European Regional Development Fund (Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional) under Grant MTM2016-79765-P (AEI/FEDER, UE).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center of Operations Research (CIO)University Miguel Hernandez of ElcheElcheSpain
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of ExtremaduraBadajozSpain
  3. 3.Department of Accounting and FinanceUniversity de ExtremaduraBadajozSpain

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