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Calculating scale elasticities in DEA models


In the data envelopment analysis (DEA) efficiency literature, qualitative characterizations of returns to scale (increasing, constant, or decreasing) are most common. In economics it is standard to use the scale elasticity as a quantification of scale properties for a production function representing efficient operations. Our contributions are to review DEA practices, apply the concept of scale elasticity from economic multi-output production theory to DEA piecewise linear frontier production functions, and develop formulas for scale elasticity for radial projections of inefficient observations in the relative interior of fully dimensional facets. The formulas are applied to both constructed and real data and show the differences between scale elasticities for the two valid projections (input and output orientations). Instead of getting qualitative measures of returns to scale only as was done earlier in the DEA literature, we now get a quantitative range of scale elasticity values providing more information to policy-makers.Journal of the Operational Research Society (2004) 55, 1023–1038. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jors.2601741

Om publikasjonen


Førsund, Finn og Lennart Hjalmarsson




Journal of the Operational Reseach Society


Vitenskapelige tidskrift