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Calculating the scale elasticity in DEA models


  • Finn R. FF8rsund


  • Lennart Hjalmarsson


In economics scale properties of a production function is charcterised by the value of the scale elasticity. In the field of efficiency studies this is also a valid approach for the frontier production function. It has no good meaning to talk about scale properties of inefficient observations. In the DEA literature a qualitative characterisation is most common. The contribution of the paper is to apply the concept of scale elasticity from multi output production theory in economics to the piecewise linear frontier production function, and to develop formulas for calculating values of the scale elasticity for radial projections of inefficient observations. Illustrations also on real data are provided, showing the differences between scale elasticity values for the input- and output oriented projections and the range of values for efficient observations.

Suggested Citation

  • Finn R. FF8rsund & Lennart Hjalmarsson, 2002. "Calculating the scale elasticity in DEA models," ICER Working Papers 28-2002, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:icr:wpicer:28-2002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Banker, Rajiv D. & Thrall, R. M., 1992. "Estimation of returns to scale using data envelopment analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 74-84, October.
    2. Afriat, Sidney N, 1972. "Efficiency Estimation of Production Function," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(3), pages 568-598, October.
    3. Banker, R. D. & Bardhan, I. & Cooper, W. W., 1996. "A note on returns to scale in DEA," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 583-585, February.
    4. Banker, Rajiv D. & Chang, Hsihui & Cooper, William W., 1996. "Equivalence and implementation of alternative methods for determining returns to scale in data envelopment analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 89(3), pages 473-481, March.
    5. N/A, 1996. "Note:," Foreign Trade Review, , vol. 31(1-2), pages 1-1, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Svetlov, Nikolai M., 2007. "Corporate farm size determinants in transitional economy: the case of the Moscow region," 102nd Seminar, May 17-18, 2007, Moscow, Russia 10017, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Rodrigo Gómez Monge, 2012. "El sector bancario en México, los depósitos a plazo y las cuentas de ahorro: un análisis de eficiencia durante el periodo de internacionalización a través de la envolvente de datos (dea)," REVISTA CIENCIAS ESTRATÉGICAS, UNIVERSIDAD PONTIFICIA BOLIVARIANA, June.

    More about this item


    Scale elasticity; DEA; production theory; Farrell efficiency measures;

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity

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