A State-Level Analysis of Mexican Education and Its Impact on Regional, Economic, and Social Development: Two-Stage Network DEA Approach


  • Martin Flegl School of Engineering and Sciences, Tecnologico de Monterrey https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9944-8475
  • Sonia Valeria Avilés-Sacoto Universidad San Francisco de Quito, USFQ, Colegio de Ciencias e Ingeniería, Departamento de Ingeniería Industrial and Instituto de Innovación en Productividad y Logística CATENA-USFQ https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0952-5845
  • David Güemes-Castorena School of Engineering and Sciences, Tecnologico de Monterrey https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6346-2873
  • Estefanía Caridad Avilés-Sacoto Universidad Politécnica Salesiana, Sede Cuenca, Área de Ciencias de la Vida, Ingeniería Ambiental https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6434-7810




Data envelopment analysis, Human development index, Mexico, Regional development, Educational efficiency


Education has been considered a cornerstone for human and economic development. Although there is a national educational strategy in most countries, various implementations are at the state level. This paper studies academic efficiency at the primary and secondary levels and the human development dimensions –long and healthy life, being knowledgeable, and enjoying a decent standard of life– at the state level. For this purpose, a network data envelopment analysis (NDEA) with two stages was proposed. The first stage studies the educational process efficiency, while the second evaluates its impact in the form of the human development index. The study found significant differences between the evaluated states in the education stage, where the lowest efficiencies are mainly in the southwest of Mexico. The results also indicate that better education quality leads to greater regional, economic, and social development at the state level. This study contributes to the NDEA applications on the understanding of the impact that education has in improving the development of the regions holistically.


Ahmad, S. Z. (2015) ‘Evaluating student satisfaction of quality at international branch campuses’, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, Vol. 40, No. 4, pp. 488–507. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2014.925082

Ama, H. A., Morad, F. R. and Mukhopadyay, S. (2020) ‘Assessment of stakeholders views on accessing quality and equity of basic education in rural communities of Abia State. Nigeria’, Educational Research and Reviews, Vol. 15, No. 8, pp. 454–464. https://doi.org/10.5897/ERR2020.4018

Avilés-Sacoto, S. V., Cook, W. D., Güemes-Castorena, D. and Zhu, J. (2020) ‘Modelling Efficiency in Regional Innovation Systems: A Two-Stage Data Envelopment Analysis Problem with Shared Outputs within Groups of Decision-Making Units’, European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 287, No. 2, pp. 572–582. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejor.2020.04.052

Avilés-Sacoto, S. V., Cook, W. D., Imanirad, R., and Zhu, J. (2015) ‘Two-stage network DEA: When intermediate measures can be treated as outputs from the second stage’, Journal of the Operational Research Society, Vol. 66, No. 11, pp. 1868–1877. https://doi.org/10.1057/jors.2015.14

Avilés-Sacoto, E. C., Avilés-Sacoto, S. V., Güemes-Castorena, D. and Cook, W. D. (2021) ‘Environmental performance evaluation: A state-level DEA analysis’, Socio-economic Planning Sciences, Vol. 28, 101082. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.seps.2021.101082

Barragan Torres, M. (2017) ‘School and institutional effects on secondary education transitions in Mexico’, International Journal of Educational Research, Vol. 85, pp. 68–86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2017.06.005

Berbegal-Mirabent, J., Lafuente, E. and Solé, F. (2013) ‘The pursuit of knowledge transfer activities: An efficiency analysis of Spanish universities’, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 66, No. 10, pp. 2051–2059. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2013.02.031

Ben Yahia, F., Essid, H. and Rebai, S. (2018) ‘Do dropout and environmental factors matter? A directional distance function assessment of Tunisian education efficiency’, International Journal of Educational Development, Vol. 60, pp. 120–127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2017.11.004

Brunello, G. and Checchi, D. (2005) ‘School quality and family background in Italy’, Economics of Education Review, Vol. 24, No. 5, pp. 563–577. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econedurev.2004.09.001

Buddin, R. and Zamarro, G. (2009) ‘Teacher qualifications and student achievement in urban elementary schools’, Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 66, pp. 103–115. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jue.2009.05.001

Canales, A. and Maldonado, L. (2018) ‘Teacher quality and student achievement in Chile: Linking teachers’ contribution and observable characteristics’, International Journal of Educational Development, Vol. 60, pp. 33–50. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2017.09.009

Cattaneo, A., Adukia, A., Brown, D. L., Christiaensen, L., Evans, D. K., Haakenstad, A., McMenomy, T., Partridge, M., Vaz, S. and Weiss, D. J. (2022) ‘Economic and social development along the urban–rural continuum: New opportunities to inform policy’, World Development, Vol. 157, 105941. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2022.105941

Charnes, A., Cooper, W. W. and Rhodes, E. (1978) ‘Measuring the efficiency of decision making units’, European Journal of Operations Research, Vol. 2, No. 6, pp. 429–444. https://doi.org/10.1016/0377-2217(78)90138-8

Chen, C. C. (2017) ‘Measuring departmental and overall regional performance: applying the multi-activity DEA model to Taiwan׳s cities/counties’, Omega, Vol. 67, pp. 60–80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.omega.2016.04.002

Chen, L., Lai, F., Wang, Y.-M., Huang, Y. and Wu, F.-M. (2018) ‘A two-stage network data envelopment analysis approach for measuring and decomposing environmental efficiency’, Computers & Industrial Engineering, Vol. 119, pp. 388–403. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cie.2018.04.011

Chen, Y., Ma, X., Yan, P. and Wang, M. (2021) ‘Operating efficiency in Chinese universities: An extended two-stage network DEA approach’, Journal of Management Science and Engineering, Vol. 6, No. 4, pp. 482–498. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmse.2021.08.005

Clotfelter, C. T., Ladd, H. F. and Vigdor, J. L. (2007) ‘Teacher credentials and student achievement: Longitudinal analysis with student fixed effects’, Economics of Education Review, Vol. 26, pp. 673–682. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.econedurev.2007.10.002

Cook, W. D. and Zhu, J. (2014) Data Envelopment Analysis: A Handbook on the Modeling of Internal Structures and Networks, Springer: New York.

Cook, W. D., Liang, L., and Zhu, J. (2010) ’Measuring performance of two-stage network structures by DEA: A review and future perspective’, Omega, Vol. 38, No. 6, pp. 423–430. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.omega.2009.12.001

Cooper, W., Seiford, L. and Zhu, J. (2011) Handbook on data envelopment analysis. New York: Springer. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-6151-8

Delprato, M. and Antequera, G. (2021) ‘Public and private school efficiency and equity in Latin America: New evidence based on PISA for development’, International Journal of Educational Development, Vol. 84, 102404. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2021.102404

Despotis, D. K. (2005) ‘Measuring human development via data envelopment analysis: the case of Asia and the Pacific’, Omega, Vol. 33, No. 5, pp. 385–390. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.omega.2004.07.002

Dyson, R. G., Allen, R., Camanho, A. S., Podinovski, V. V., Sarrico, C. S. and Shale, E. A. (2001) ‘Pitfalls and protocols in DEA’, European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 132, No. 2, pp. 245–259. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0377-2217(00)00149-1

Eggert, W., Krieger, T. and Meier, V. (2010) ‘Education, unemployment and migration’, Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 94, No. 5–6, pp. 354–362. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpubeco.2010.01.005

Emrouznejad, A. and Yang, G.-L. (2018) ‘A survey and analysis of the first 40 years of scholarly literature in DEA: 1978–2016’, Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Vol. 61, pp. 4–8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.seps.2017.01.008

Falch, T., Lujala, P. and Strøm, B. (2013) ‘Geographical constraints and educational attainment’, Regional Science and Urban Economics, Vol. 43, No. 1, pp. 164–176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2012.06.007

Ferro, G. and Romero, C. (2021) ’The Productive Efficiency of Science and Technology Worldwide: A Frontier Analysis’, Journal on Efficiency and Responsibility in Education and Science, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 217–230. https://doi.org/10.7160/eriesj.2021.140402

Flegl, M. and Andrade Rosas, L. A. (2019) ‘Do professor’s age and gender matter or do students give higher value to professors’ experience?’, Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 511–532. https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/QAE-12-2018-0127

Flegl, M. and Hernández Gress, E. S. (2023) ‘A two-stage Data Envelopment Analysis model for investigating the efficiency of the public security in Mexico’, Decision Analytics Journal, Vol. 6, 100181. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dajour.2023.100181

Fuentes, R., Fuster, B. and Lillo-Bañuls, A. (2016) ‘A three-stage DEA model to evaluate learning-teaching technical efficiency: Key performance indicators and contextual variables’, Expert Systems with Applications, Vol. 48, pp. 89–99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eswa.2015.11.022

Gambhir, V., Wadhwa, N. C. and Grover, S. (2016) ‘Quality concerns in technical education in India A quantifiable quality enabled model’, Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 2–25. https://doi.org/10.1108/QAE-07-2011-0040

García, A. K. (2018) Educación en México: insuficiente, desigual y la calidad es difícil de medir [Education in Mexico: insufficient, unequal and the quality is difficult to measure], El Economista, [Online], Available: https://www.eleconomista.com.mx/politica/Educacion-en-Mexico-insuficiente-desigual-y-la-calidad-es-dificil-de-medir-20181225-0028.html [14 Jun 2023].

Giménez, V., Ayvar-Campos, F.J. and Navarro-Chávez, J.C.L. (2017) ‘Efficiency in the generation of social welfare in Mexico: A proposal in the presence of bad outputs’, Omega, Vol. 69, pp. 43–52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.omega.2016.08.001

Halásková R., Mikušová Meričková B. and Halásková M. (2022) ‘Efficiency of Public and Private Service Delivery: The Case of Secondary Education’, Journal on Efficiency and Responsibility in Education and Science, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 33–46. http://dx.doi.org/10.7160/eriesj.2022.150104

Hanushek, E. A. and Woessmann, L. (2008) ‘The role of cognitive skills in economic development’, Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. 46, No. 3, pp. 607–668. http://dx.doi.org/10.1257/jel.46.3.607

INEGI (2023a) Características educativas de la población [Educational characteristics of the population], Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, [Online], Available: https://www.inegi.org.mx/temas/educacion/ [10 Mar 2023].

INEGI (2023b) Demografía y Sociedad – Población [Demography and Society – Population], Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, [Online], Available: https://www.inegi.org.mx/app/tabulados/interactivos/?pxq=Mortalidad_Mortalidad_09_61312f04-e039-4659-8095-0ce2cd284415 [10 Mar 2023].

INEGI (2023c) Economía y Sectores Productivos – PIB y cuentas nacionales [Economy and Productive Sectors – GDP and national accounts], Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, [Online], Available: https://www.inegi.org.mx/temas/pib/ [10 Mar 2023].

Jalongo, M. R., Fennimore, B. S., Pattnaik, J., Laverick, D. M., Brewster, J. and Mutuku, M. (2004) ‘Blended Perspectives: A Global Vision for High-Quality Early Childhood Education’, Early Childhood Education Journal, Vol. 32, pp. 143–155. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:ECEJ.0000048966.13626.be

Kao, C. and Hwang, S.-N. (2008) ‘Efficiency decomposition in two-stage data envelopment analysis: An application to non-life insurance companies in Taiwan’, European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 185, No. 1, pp. 418–429. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejor.2006.11.041

Kao C. (2009) ‘Efficiency measurement for parallel production systems’, European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 196, No. 3, pp. 1107–1112. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejor.2008.04.020

Kedagni, D., Krishna, K., Megalokonomou, R. and Zhao, Y. (2021) ‘Does class size matter? How, and at what cost?’, European Economic Review, Vol. 133, 103664. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euroecorev.2021.103664

Liang L., Yang, F., Cook, W. D. and Zhu, J. (2006) ‘DEA models for supply chain efficiency evaluation’, Annals of Operations Research, Vol. 145, pp. 35–49. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10479-006-0026-7

Liu, J. S., Lu, L. Y. Y., Lu, W.-M. and Lin, B. J. Y. (2013) ‘A survey of DEA applications’, Omega, Vol. 41, No. 5, pp. 893–902. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.omega.2012.11.004

Liu, J. and Xing, C. (2016) ‘Migrate for education: An unintended effect of school district combination in rural China’, China Economic Review, Vol. 40, pp. 192–206. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chieco.2016.07.003

Mahmoudi, R., Emrouznejad, A., Shetab-Boushehri, S. N. and Hejazi, S. R. (2020) The origins, development and future directions of data envelopment analysis approach in transportation systems.’, Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Vol. 69, 100672. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.seps.2018.11.009

Marshall, E. and Shortle, J. (2016) ‘Using DEA and VEA to Evaluate Quality of Life in the Mid-Atlantic States’, Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 185–203. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1068280500008352

Mendoza-Mendoza, A., De La Hoz-Domínguez, E. and Visbal-Cadavid, D. (2023) ‘Classification of industrial engineering programs in Colombia based on state tests’, Heliyon, Vol. 9, No. 5, e16002. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e16002

Min, S., Kim, J. and Sawng, Y.-W. (2020) ‘The effect of innovation network size and public R&D investment on regional innovation efficiency’, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Vol. 155, 119998. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2020.119998

Minuci, E., Ferreira Neto, A. B. and Hall, J. (2019) ‘A data envelopment analysis of West Virginia school districts’, Heliyon, Vol. 5, No. 7, e01990. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e0199

Moghaddas, Z., Tosarkani, B. M. and Yousefi, S. (2022) ‘Resource reallocation for improving sustainable supply chain performance: An inverse data envelopment analysis’, International Journal of Production Economics, Vol. 252, 108560. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2022.108560

Moreno, P. and Lozano, S. (2016) ‘Super SBI Dynamic Network DEA approach to measuring efficiency in the provision of public services’, International Transactions in Operational Research, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 715–735. https://doi.org/10.1111/itor.12257

Murias, P., Martinez, F. and De Miguel, C. (2006) ‘An Economic Wellbeing Index for the Spanish Provinces: A Data Envelopment Analysis Approach’, Social Indicators Research, Vol. 77, pp. 395–417. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-005-2613-4

No, F., Taniguchi, K. and Hirakawa, Y. (2016) ‘School dropout at the basic education level in rural Cambodia: Identifying its causes through longitudinal survival analysis’, International Journal of Educational Development, Vol. 49, pp. 215–224. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2016.03.001

OECD (2022). Education at Glance 2022: OECD Indicators, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, [Online], Available: https://www.oecd.org/education/education-at-a-glance/ [15 Jun 2023].

Ome, A., Menendez, A. and Elise Le, H. (2017) ‘Improving teaching quality through training: Evidence from the Caucasus’, Economics of Education Review, Vol. 61, pp. 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econedurev.2017.09.003

Osberg, L. and Sharpe, A. (1998) ‘An index of economic well-being for Canada’, CSLS Conference on the State of Living Standards and the Quality of Life in Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.

Qu, J., Wang, B. and Liu, X. (2022) ‘A modified super-efficiency network data envelopment analysis: Assessing regional sustainability performance in China’, Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Vol. 82 (Part B), 101262. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.seps.2022.101262

Ramzi, S., Afonso, A. and Ayadi, M. (2016) ‘Assessment of efficiency in basic and secondary education in Tunisia: A regional analysis’, International Journal of Educational Development, Vol. 51, pp. 62–76. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2016.08.003

Rodionov, D. and Velichenkova, D. (2020) ‘Relation between Russian Universities and Regional Innovation Development’, Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity, Vol. 6, No. 4, pp. 118. https://doi.org/10.3390/joitmc6040118

Sagarra, M., Mar-Molinero, C. and Agasisti, T. (2017) ‘Exploring the efficiency of Mexican universities: Integrating Data Envelopment Analysis and Multidimensional Scaling’, Omega, Vol. 67, pp. 123–133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.omega.2016.04.006

Sahu, A. R., Shrivastava, R. R. and Shrivastava, R. L. (2013) ‘Critical success factors for sustainable improvement in technical education excellence: A literature review’, The TQM Journal, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 62–74. https://doi.org/10.1108/17542731311286432

Santos Tavares, R., Angulo-Meza, L. and Parracho Sant’Anna, A. (2021) ‘A proposed multi-stage evaluation approach for Higher Education Institutions based on network Data envelopment analysis: A Brazilian experience’, Evaluation and Program Planning, Vol. 89, 101984. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2021.101984

See, K. F., Ng, Y. C. and Yu, M.-M. (2022) ‘An alternative assessment approach to national higher education system evaluation’, Evaluation and Program Planning, Vol. 94, 102124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2022.102124

Seiford, L. M. and Zhu, J. (2002) ‘Modeling undesirable factors in efficiency evaluation’, European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 142, No. 1, pp. 16–20. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0377-2217(01)00293-4

SEP (2022) Principales Cifras del Sistema Educativo Nacional 2021-2022 [Main Figures of the National Education System 2021-2022], Secretaría de Educación Pública – Dirección General de Planeación, Programación y Estadística Educativa, [Online], available: https://www.planeacion.sep.gob.mx/Doc/estadistica_e_indicadores/principales_cifras/principales_cifras_2021_2022_bolsillo.pdf [10 Jun 2023].

Shamohammadi, M. and Oh, D. (2019) ‘Measuring the efficiency changes of private universities of Korea: A two-stage network data envelopment analysis’, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Vol. 148, 119730. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2019.119730

Toloo, M. (2014) ‘The role of non-Archimedean epsilon in finding the most efficient unit: With an application of professional tennis players’, Applied Mathematical Modelling, Vol. 38, No. 21–22, pp. 5334–5346. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apm.2014.04.010

Tone, K. and Tsutsui, M. (2009) ‘Network DEA: A slacks-based measure approach’, European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 197, No. 1, pp. 243–252. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejor.2008.05.027

Udouj, G., Grover, K., Belcher, G. and Kacirek, K. (2017) ‘An investigation of perceptions of programme quality support of adult basic education programmes’, Evaluation and Program Planning, Vol. 61, pp. 106–112. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2016.11.015

UNDP (2023) Human Development Index (HDI), United Nations Development Programme, [Online], Available: https://hdr.undp.org/data-center/human-development-index#/indicies/HDI [31 May 2023].

UNESCO (2012) International Standard Classification of Education – ISCED 2011, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Institute for Statistics, [Online], Available: https://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/international-standard-classification-of-education-isced-2011-en.pdf [11 Jun 2023].

Van Puyenbroeck, T. and Rogge. N. (2020) ‘Comparing regional human development using global frontier difference indices’, Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Vol. 70, 100663. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.seps.2018.10.014

Velásquez Rodríguez, J., Neira Rodado, D., Crissien Borrero, T. and Alexander Parody, A. (2022) ‘Multidimensional indicator to measure quality in education’, International Journal of Educational Development, Vol. 89, 102541. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2021.102541

Vliamos, S. J. and Tzeremes, N. G. (2006) ‘Education Efficiency and Labor Market Achievements: An Evaluation for Twenty OECD Countries’, The Journal of Economic Asymmetries, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 103–124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeca.2006.02.006

Williams, R., de Rassenfosse, G., Jensen, P. and Marginson, S. (2013) ‘The determinants of quality national higher education systems’, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, Vol. 35, No. 6, pp. 599–611. https://doi.org/10.1080/1360080X.2013.854288

Wu, Y.-C. and Lin, S.-W. (2022) ‘Efficiency evaluation of Asia’s cultural tourism using a dynamic DEA approach’, Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Vol. 84, 101426. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.seps.2022.101426

Additional Files



How to Cite

Flegl, M., Avilés-Sacoto, S. V., Güemes-Castorena, D. and Avilés-Sacoto, E. C. (2023) ’A State-Level Analysis of Mexican Education and Its Impact on Regional, Economic, and Social Development: Two-Stage Network DEA Approach’, Journal on Efficiency and Responsibility in Education and Science, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 275–286. https://doi.org/10.7160/eriesj.2023.160402