A full-scale investigation of the directional returns to scale in data envelopment analysis

Research paper by G.R. Jahanshahloo, B. Talebian

Indexed on: 10 Mar '17Published on: 11 Jan '17Published in: Applied Mathematical Modelling


Returns to scale is considered as one of the important concepts in data envelopment analysis (DEA) which can be useful for deciding to increase or decrease the size of a particular decision making unit. Traditional returns to scale on the efficient surface of the production possibility set with variable returns to scale (VRS) technology is introduced as a ratio of proportional changes of output components to proportional changes of input components. However, a problem which may arise in the real world is the impossibility or undesirability of proportional change in the input or output components. One of the attempts which is made to solve the aforementioned problem is the work of Yang et al., 2014. They have introduced the “directional returns to scale” in the DEA framework and have proposed some procedures to estimate and measure it. In this paper, the introduced directional returns to scale is investigated from a new perspective based on the defining hyperplanes of the production possibility set with VRS technology. We propose some algebraic equations and linear programming models which in addition to measuring the directional returns to scale, they enable us to analyse it. Moreover, we introduce the concepts of the best input and output direction vectors for expansion of input components or compression of output components, respectively, and propose two linear programming models in order to obtain these directions. The presented equations and models are demonstrated using a case study and numerical examples.

Figure 10.1016/j.apm.2017.01.015.0.jpg