Hierarchies and Groups in DEA*

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Conventional applications of data envelopment analysis (DEA) presume the existence of a set of similar decision making units, wherein each unit is evaluated relative to other members of the set. Often, however, the DMUs fall naturally into groupings, giving rise first to the problem of how to view the groups themselves as DMUs, and second to the issue of how to deal with several different ratings for any given DMU when groupings can be formed in different ways. In the present paper we introduce the concept of hierarchical DEA, where efficiency can be viewed at various levels. We provide a means for adjusting the ratings of DMUs at one level to account for the ratings received by the groups (into which these DMUs fall) at a higher level. We also develop models for aggregating different ratings for a DMU arising from different possible groupings. An application of these models to a set of power plants is given.

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