A cross-national comparison and taxonomy of DEA-based hospital efficiency studies

Liam O'Neill, Marion Rauner, Kurt Heidenberger, Markus Kraus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

231 Scopus citations


This paper provides the first taxonomy of hospital efficiency studies that uses data envelopment analysis (DEA) and related techniques. We provide a systematic review of 79 such studies published from 1984-2004 that represent 12 countries. Only studies written in English are considered. A cross-national comparison reveals significant differences with respect to important study characteristics such as type of DEA model selected and choice of input and output categories. Compared with US studies, European efforts are more likely to measure allocative rather than technical efficiency, use longitudinal data, and use fewer observations. We take a longitudinal perspective that illustrates the life cycle of this research, as well as its diffusion across disciplines. Our taxonomy can be used by policy makers and researchers to review past, and assemble new, DEA models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-189
Number of pages32
JournalSocio-Economic Planning Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Data envelopment analysis
  • Hospital efficiency
  • Stochastic frontier analysis
  • Taxonomy


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