Analysis of Public Spending: An Evaluation Methodology for Measuring the Efficiency of Brazilian State Spending on Education

Dec 2014
This study uses Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to evaluate the efficiency of state public education systems in Brazil. State government spending on education and state gross domestic product are interpreted as input variables, with the latter being non-discretionary. Output variables are based on the number of state public school students taking the ENEM (Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio, a national exam taken at the end of high school studies) and the Prova Brasil (a national exam taken at the end of the 5th and 9th grades) and their scores on these exams. Variables were not scaled per capita in order to allow us to draw conclusions about economies of scale. The main result was a negative correlation between per capita state spending on education and the relative efficiency of the state educational system, indicating that there is a limit to per capita educational spending beyond which technical efficiency in educational programs falls significantly.