Improving the identification of returns to scale in data envelopment analysis

L. E. Read*, Emmanuel Thanassoulis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In order to assess the efficiencies of a set of production units, it is necessary to identify the nature of returns to scale which characterize efficient production. Some methods have been developed to test the nature of the scale elasticity across the full range of scale sizes. However these tests are heavily weighted by the majority of the units and may not identify small ranges of scale size where different returns to scale hold. This paper develops a procedure based on a combination of Data Envelopment Analysis and regression analysis to identify the ranges of scale size where the returns to scale may differ from those in other ranges for the single-output, multi-input case. We also develop a measure of scale size across different input mixes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-110
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Operational Research Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2000


  • data envelopment analysis
  • returns to scale
  • efficiency measurement


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