The funds dedicated to cohesion policy aim to achieve the convergence of wealth levels across the Member States of the European Union (EU). They are the second largest group of expenditure in the EU budget, so their evaluation has an important role to play. Their assessment can be made using different tools and methodologies, all of which have their merits and demerits. For example, macroeconomic models allow assessing the potential impact of EU funds on economic growth, but ignore management issues. There are other modelling approaches that consider econometric estimates, which may translate into biased estimates of the impacts of structural funds if some variables are omitted. In this context, Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) is an alternative tool. DEA is a non-parametric method for measuring the relative efficiency of Decision Making Units (DMUs), allowing for the consideration of multiple factors in the overall assessment of their performance. DEA is based on linear programming, to evaluate the relative efficiency of similar organizational units, generating a global efficiency indicator for each unit (DMU) under evaluation, based on the inputs it consumes and the outputs it produces. Specifically, we intend to evaluate the efficiency in the implementation of EU funds under the thematic objectives in Research and Innovation; Low carbon economy; and Information & Communication Technologies. The DMUs (in this case, the programmes under evaluation) assume the role of alternatives to be compared. The methodological approach applied here can be particularly useful (when compared to traditional DEA approaches) for community fund managers, as it allows incorporating different policy concerns in the identification of the programmes that should be considered as benchmarks in terms of Best Practice. In this sense, it is possible to understand how these benchmarks may vary depending on the policy priorities contemplated in the analysis. Finally, unlike other tools and methodologies dedicated to ex-post or ex-ante evaluation of Cohesion Policy, the DEA approach also allows assessing the efficiency of programme implementation during the programming period, thus enabling managers to adopt the necessary policies to correct possible deviations from efficiency in the ongoing time horizon.
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This project is co-financed by the European Regiona (ERDF) through the Portugal 2020 Partnership Agreement – Technical Assistance O (POAT 2020) under the POAT-01-6177-ERDF-000044 ADEPT: Evaluation of Co-Financed Policies in Enterprises.
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