A survey and analysis of the first 40 years of scholarly literature in DEA: 1978–2016

Ali Emrouznejad*, Guo-liang Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years there has been an exponential growth in the number of publications related to theory and applications of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA). Charnes, Cooper, and Rhodes (1978) introduced DEA as a tool for measuring efficiency and productivity of decision making units. DEA has immediately been recognized as a modern tool for performance measurement. Since then, a large and considerable amount of articles has been appeared, including significant breakthroughs in theory and a great portion of works on DEA applications, both public and private sectors, to assess the efficiency and productivity of their activities. Although there have been several bibliographic collections reported, a comprehensive analysis and listing of DEA-related articles covering its first four decades of history is still missing. This paper, thus, aims to report an extensive listing of DEA-related articles including theory and methodology developments and "real" applications in diversified scenarios from 1978 to end of 2016. Some summary statistics of the publications' growth, the most utilized academic journals, authorship analysis, as well as keywords analysis are also provided.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-8
Number of pages5
JournalSocio-economic planning science
Early online date26 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).


  • data envelopment analysis
  • efficiency and productivity
  • bibliography
  • survey


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