Juan Aparicio (University Miguel Hernández of Elche), José Manuel Cordero (University of Extremadura) and Carlos Díaz-Caro (University of Extremadura).

Abstract. 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.

Keywords. Efficiency; Tax offices; Public management; Productivity change; Administrative services; Operations research