Combining two approaches to efficiency assessment
The advent of data envelopment analysis (DEA) enabled the measurement of efficiency to be extended to the case of multiple outputs. Prior to DEA we had the parametric approach based on multiple regression. We highlight some difficulties associated with these two approaches and present a hybrid which overcomes them whilst maintaining the respective--advantages of each. This hybrid models the efficient frontier using an algebraic expression; the--resulting smooth representation allows all units to be naturally enveloped and hence slacks to be avoided. (Slacks are potential improvements for inefficient units which are not accounted for in the DEA (radial) score, and so have been problematic for DEA.) The approach identifies the DEA-efficient units and fits a smooth model to them using maximum correlation modelling. This new technique extends the method of multiple--regression to the case where there are multiple variables on each side of the model equation--(e.g. outputs and inputs). The resulting expression for the frontier permits managers to estimate the effect on their efficiency score of adjustments in one or more input or output levels.