Improving the performance assessment of government web portals: A proposal using data envelopment analysis (DEA)

Researchers around the world propose different ways to assess the performance of electronic government portals in order to understand the factors that influence the quality of the information and services they provide to citizens, businesses, and other stakeholders. Most of these evaluation models only consider the results or outputs in terms of information, services, or other portal functionalities, ignoring the inputs of capabilities and resources that governments have and make available for these efforts. This paper argues that a more comprehensive approach is necessary, and using data envelopment analysis (DEA) could help to better understand how efficient governments are in their use of certain “inputs” to produce high quality e-government portals. DEA calculates an efficiency score based on some portal characteristics (outputs), such as information, interaction, transaction, integration, and participation, and some organizational, institutional, and contextual factors (inputs), such as government capacity, potential demand, and operation costs. The empirical analysis focuses on the state government portals in Mexico. Our results indicate that while there are some states that are never in first place in terms of portal quality or functionality, they also have very few resources and capabilities, which means they are highly efficient. Therefore, DEA could also improve the fairness and equality of portal assessment methods, particularly for governments with few initial resources and capabilities and/or adversarial environmental conditions.