Pitfalls and Remedies in DEA Applications: How to Handle an Occurrence of Zero in Multipliers by Strong Complementary Slackness Conditions


This study discusses a guideline on a proper use of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) that has been widely used for performance analysis in public and private sectors. The use of DEA is equipped with Strong Complementary Slackness Conditions (SCSCs) in this study, but an application of DEA/SCSCs depends upon its careful use, as summarized in the guideline. The guideline consists of the five suggestions. First, a data set used in the DEA applications should not have a ratio variable (e.g., financial ratios) in an input(s) and/or an output(s). Second, radial DEA models under variable and constant Returns to Scale (RTS) need a special treatment on zero in a data set. Third, the DEA evaluation needs to drop an outlier. Fourth, an imprecise number (e.g., 1/3) may suffer from a round-off error because DEA needs to specify it in a precise expression to operate a computer code. Finally, when a large input or output variable may dominate other variables in DEA computation, it is necessary to normalize the data set or simply to divide each observation by its average. Such a simple treatment produces more reliable DEA results than the one without any data adjustment. This study also discusses how to handle an occurrence of zero in DEA multipliers by applying SCSCs. The DEA/SCSCs can serve for a multiplier restriction approach without any prior information. Thus, the propesed DEA/SCSCs can provide more reliable results than a straight use of DEA.

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T. Sueyoshi and M. Goto, "Pitfalls and Remedies in DEA Applications: How to Handle an Occurrence of Zero in Multipliers by Strong Complementary Slackness Conditions," Engineering, Vol. 5 No. 5A, 2013, pp. 29-34. doi: 10.4236/eng.2013.55A005.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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