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Pushing the DEA research envelope


  • Avkiran, Necmi K.
  • Parker, Barnett R.


This brief article first investigates key dimensions underlying the progress realized by data envelopment analysis (DEA) methodologies. The resulting perspective is then used to encourage reflection on future paths for the field. Borrowing from the social sciences literature, we distinguish between problematization and gap identification in suggesting strategies to push the DEA research envelope. Emerging evidence of a declining number of influential methodological (theory)-based publications, and a flattening diffusion of applications imply an unfolding maturity of the field. Such findings suggest that focusing on known limitations of DEA, and/or of its applications, while searching for synergistic partnerships with other methodologies, can create new and fertile grounds for research. Possible future directions might thus include 'DEA in practice', 'opening the black-box of production,' 'rationalizing inefficiency,' and 'the productivity dilemma.' What we are therefore proposing is a strengthening of the methodology's contribution to fields of endeavor both including, and beyond, those considered in the past.

Suggested Citation

  • Avkiran, Necmi K. & Parker, Barnett R., 2010. "Pushing the DEA research envelope," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 1-7, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceps:v:44:y:2010:i:1:p:1-7

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Cooper, William W. & McAlister, Leigh, 1999. "Can research be basic and applied? You bet. It better be for B-schools!," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 257-276, December.
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    7. Sherman, H. David & Gold, Franklin, 1985. "Bank branch operating efficiency : Evaluation with Data Envelopment Analysis," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 297-315, June.
    8. Sheth, Chintan & Triantis, Konstantinos & Teodorovic, Dusan, 2007. "Performance evaluation of bus routes: A provider and passenger perspective," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 453-478, July.
    9. Cook, Wade D. & Seiford, Larry M., 2009. "Data envelopment analysis (DEA) - Thirty years on," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 192(1), pages 1-17, January.
    10. R. D. Banker & A. Charnes & W. W. Cooper, 1984. "Some Models for Estimating Technical and Scale Inefficiencies in Data Envelopment Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(9), pages 1078-1092, September.
    11. Glover, Fred & Sueyoshi, Toshiyuki, 2009. "Contributions of Professor William W. Cooper in Operations Research and Management Science," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 197(1), pages 1-16, August.
    12. Emrouznejad, Ali & Parker, Barnett R. & Tavares, Gabriel, 2008. "Evaluation of research in efficiency and productivity: A survey and analysis of the first 30 years of scholarly literature in DEA," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 151-157, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Amado, Carla A.F. & Santos, Sérgio P. & Sequeira, João F.C., 2013. "Using Data Envelopment Analysis to support the design of process improvement interventions in electricity distribution," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 228(1), pages 226-235.
    2. Mohammad Ataei & Soamayeh Naserian, 2015. "An Assessment Study on the Efficiency of Banks through Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA). Case Study: A Bank Based in Tehran," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 5(4), pages 105-110, October.
    3. Ahti Salo & Antti Punkka, 2011. "Ranking Intervals and Dominance Relations for Ratio-Based Efficiency Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(1), pages 200-214, January.


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