Persistent and transient inefficiency in adult education

O. Badunenko*, D. Mazrekaj, S.C. Kumbhakar, K. De Witte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper evaluates the inefficiency of adult education programs. Using an advanced four-component stochastic frontier model on Belgian adult education data, we distinguish between persistent and transient inefficiency of adult education programs. Whereas persistent inefficiency is structural and difficult to tackle because of its time-invariant nature, transient inefficiency can be eliminated somewhat easily without a major structural change. Thus, reduction in different inefficiency components may require different policy measures. Our results indicate that despite the presence of persistent inefficiency, the overall inefficiency is mainly driven by the transient component, and hence, at the control of the adult education management. The findings suggest that social interaction is relevant in adult education as both more sessions and more learners per program increase educational efficiency. Moreover, adult education programs seem to be particularly useful for young less-educated learners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2925-2942
Number of pages18
JournalEmpirical Economics
Issue number6
Early online date4 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • adult education
  • efficiency
  • four-component model
  • inefficiency
  • performance
  • schools
  • stochastic frontier analysis
  • Adult education
  • Four-component model
  • Stochastic frontier analysis
  • Inefficiency


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