Annals of Operations Research

, Volume 145, Issue 1, pp 339–365 | Cite as

Validating DEA as a ranking tool: An application of DEA to assess performance in higher education

  • Marie-Laure BougnolEmail author
  • José H. Dulá


There is a general interest in ranking schemes applied to complex entities described by multiple attributes. Published rankings for universities are in great demand but are also highly controversial. We compare two classification and ranking schemes involving universities; one from a published report, ‘Top American Research Universities’ by the University of Florida's TheCenter and the other using DEA. Both approaches use the same data and model. We compare the two methods and discover important equivalences. We conclude that the critical aspect in classification and ranking is the model. This suggests that DEA is a suitable tool for these types of studies.


Nonparametric efficient frontiers Data envelopment analysis (DEA) Tiered data envelopment analysis (TDEA) Linear programming 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Haworth College of BusinessWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazooU.S.A
  2. 2.School of BusinessVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondU.S.A

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