Difference Wiki

Technical Efficiency vs. Economic Efficiency: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 16, 2024
Technical efficiency is about maximizing output with given inputs, while economic efficiency is about producing goods at the lowest possible cost.

Key Differences

Technical efficiency refers to producing the maximum output with a given set of inputs, minimizing waste in the production process. Economic efficiency involves not just maximizing output but doing so at the lowest possible cost, considering factors like price and resource allocation.
Achieving technical efficiency means a firm is using its resources (like labor and materials) in the most effective way to maximize production. Economic efficiency goes beyond this to ensure that these resources are used in a way that also maximizes profit and market value.
In technical efficiency, the focus is purely on the production side, optimizing the use of inputs to achieve the highest output. In contrast, economic efficiency is broader, encompassing the cost-effectiveness and overall economic impact of production, including market dynamics.
An organization may be technically efficient in using its resources without any waste, but it may not be economically efficient if the output produced is not yielding the maximum possible profit. Economic efficiency takes into account the value of goods in the market, ensuring that resources are allocated to produce the most valuable mix of goods.
Technical efficiency is a component of economic efficiency, the latter also requires an optimal distribution of resources across different uses, in line with consumer preferences and market prices, to maximize welfare or profit.

Comparison Chart


Maximizing output from given inputs
Producing goods at the lowest cost while considering market values


Output per unit of input
Cost-effectiveness and profitability


Limited to production process
Includes production, market dynamics, and resource allocation


Minimize waste in production
Maximize profit and market value

Relation to Market

Independent of market conditions
Highly dependent on market conditions and prices

Technical Efficiency and Economic Efficiency Definitions

Technical Efficiency

Optimizing the use of technology and resources in production.
Their technical efficiency in software development allowed for faster release of new features.

Economic Efficiency

Producing goods or services at the lowest possible cost.
Outsourcing certain processes helped the company achieve economic efficiency.

Technical Efficiency

Achieving maximum production output with minimum input.
The factory achieved technical efficiency by producing more units without increasing labor hours.

Economic Efficiency

Balancing resource allocation to maximize profit and value.
The firm’s economic efficiency increased when it focused on high-demand products.

Technical Efficiency

The capacity of a firm to maximize output from a given set of inputs.
Technical efficiency was evident in the farm's use of advanced irrigation to increase crop yield.

Economic Efficiency

Optimal production considering both cost and market factors.
Economic efficiency was achieved by adjusting production to market prices and demand.

Technical Efficiency

The effectiveness of converting inputs into outputs in production.
The plant's technical efficiency was optimized through automated processes.

Economic Efficiency

Efficiency in the context of overall economic value and cost savings.
The company's shift to renewable energy sources was a step towards greater economic efficiency.

Technical Efficiency

Utilizing resources fully without waste in the production process.
Implementing lean manufacturing methods improved the company's technical efficiency.

Economic Efficiency

The ideal mix of goods and services to maximize market welfare.
Economic efficiency guided the government's subsidy allocations in the agriculture sector.


What factors contribute to economic efficiency?

Factors include cost, resource allocation, market demand, and prices.

What is technical efficiency?

Technical efficiency is producing the maximum possible output from a given set of inputs.

Can a company be technically efficient but not economically efficient?

Yes, a company can use its resources efficiently without necessarily maximizing profits or market value.

How is technical efficiency measured?

It's measured by the output produced per unit of input, like labor or materials.

What role does consumer preference play in economic efficiency?

Consumer preferences determine the market value of goods, influencing economic efficiency.

How do companies achieve technical efficiency?

Through optimizing production processes, using technology, and eliminating waste.

How do government policies affect economic efficiency?

Government policies like taxes, subsidies, and regulations can impact resource allocation and market dynamics, affecting economic efficiency.

Does technical efficiency consider market prices?

No, technical efficiency is solely focused on the production process and not on market dynamics.

Is technical efficiency sufficient for business success?

While important, technical efficiency alone may not ensure success without considering economic factors like cost and market demand.

What is economic efficiency?

Economic efficiency is about producing goods or services at the lowest cost, considering market values.

What is more important for a company, technical or economic efficiency?

Both are important, but economic efficiency is crucial for profitability and long-term success.

Can a small business achieve economic efficiency?

Yes, through effective cost management and aligning products with market demand.

What is an example of technical efficiency in agriculture?

Using advanced irrigation systems to maximize crop yield per hectare.

Does labor skill level impact technical efficiency?

Yes, skilled labor can improve the efficiency of converting inputs into outputs.

Do environmental factors play a role in economic efficiency?

Yes, environmental sustainability can influence cost and consumer preferences, affecting economic efficiency.

Can economic efficiency lead to competitive advantage?

Absolutely, as it involves producing at lower costs while meeting market demand effectively.

Does improving technology always lead to technical efficiency?

Improved technology can lead to technical efficiency if it enhances the production process.

How can a service-based company achieve economic efficiency?

By optimizing service delivery costs and aligning services with market demand.

Can economic efficiency change with market conditions?

Yes, economic efficiency is influenced by changing market conditions and consumer trends.

Is technical efficiency related to product quality?

It focuses on quantity and resource use efficiency, not necessarily quality.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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