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www.elsevier.com/locate/cor

Data envelopment analysis for weight derivation and aggregation

in the analytic hierarchy process

Ramakrishnan Ramanathan

College of Commerce and Economics, Sultan Qaboos University, Post Box 20, Postal Code 123, Oman

Available online 11 November 2004

Abstract

Data envelopment analysis (DEA) is proposed in this paper to generate local weights of alternatives frompair-wise

comparison judgment matrices used in the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). The underlying assumption behind

the approach is explained, and some salient features are explored. It is proved that DEA correctly estimates the

true weights when applied to a consistent matrix formed using a known set of weights. DEA is further proposed to

aggregate the local weights of alternatives in terms of different criteria to compute nal weights. It is proved further

that the proposed approach, called DEAHP in this paper, does not suffer from rank reversal when an irrelevant

alternative(s) is added or removed.

2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Analytic hierarchy process; Data envelopment analysis; Aggregation; Independence of irrelevant alternatives

1. Introduction

Data envelopment analysis (DEA) is one of the most popular tools in production management literature

for performance measurement, while the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) is a popular tool in the eld

of multiple-criteria decision-making (MCDM). MCDM has been succinctly dened as making decisions

in the face of multiple conicting objectives [1]. Many researchers have found similarities between

DEA and MCDM techniques. One of the earliest attempts to integrate DEA with multi-objective linear

programming (a MCDM technique) was provided by Golany [2]. Since then, there have been several

attempts to use the principles of DEA in the MCDM literature. The traditional goals of DEA and MCDM

E-mail address: ramanathan@squ.edu.om (R. Ramanathan).

0305-0548/$ - see front matter 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.cor.2004.09.020

1290 R. Ramanathan / Computers & Operations Research 33 (2006) 12891307

have been compared by Stewart [3]. The goal of DEAis to determine the productive efciency of a system

or decision-making-unit (DMU) by comparing how well the DMU converts inputs into outputs, while the

goal of MCDM is to rank and select from a set of alternatives that have conicting criteria. It has been

recognized for more than a decade that the MCDM and DEA formulations coincide if inputs and outputs

can be viewed as criteria for performance evaluation, with minimization of inputs and/or maximization

of outputs as associated objectives. [35]

It is not the intention in this paper to go into the details of similarities. Interested readers are referred to

recent reviews of multicriteria methods [6,7], books [8,9], and other related articles including those cited

above [1012]. This paper is concerned about using the concepts of DEAfor addressing specic problems

in the AHP [13], a popular technique of MCDM. The paper begins with brief discussions on DEA and

AHP and a literature survey on previous approaches linking the two methods. The proposed approach

synthesizing DEA concepts in AHP is discussed and illustrated in Section 3. Some of the salient features

of the proposed approach are discussed in more detail in Section 4. The paper ends with a summary and

conclusions of the paper.

2. The methodologies: DEA and AHP

2.1. Data envelopment analysis

DEA has been successfully employed for assessing the relative performance of a set of rms, usually

called the DMU, which use a variety of identical inputs to produce a variety of identical outputs. The

concept of Frontier Analysis suggested by Farrel [14] forms the basis of DEA, but the recent series of

discussions started with the article by Charnes et al. [15].

Assume that the there are N DMUs producing J outputs using I inputs. Let the mth DMU produce

outputs y

mj

using x

mi

inputs. The resulting outputinput structure of DMUs is shown in Table 1. The

objective of the DEA exercise is to identify the DMU that produces the largest amounts of outputs by

consuming the least amounts of inputs. This DMU (or DMUs) is considered to have an efciency score

equal to one. The efciencies of other inefcient DMUs are obtained relative to the efcient DMUs, and are

assigned efciency scores between zero and one. The efciency scores are computed using mathematical

programming.

Since DEA is now a widely recognized technique, it is not described in this paper. Interested readers

are referred to more detailed materials [8,1618]. Four basic DEA models (Models 14) are presented

below. These models can be used to calculate the DEA efciency score of mth DMU. Some of these

models will be used in the analyses later in this paper. The optimal objective function values of Models

1 and 3, when solved, represent the efciency score of the mth DMU. This DMU is relatively efcient if

and only if their optimal objective function value equals unity. As informed earlier, efciency scores for

inefcient units are between zero and one. For inefcient units, DEA also provides those efcient units

(namely peers), which the inefcient units can emulate to register performances that could improve their

efciency scores.

Because of the nature of formulations, the optimal objective function values of Models 2 and 4 represent

the reciprocal of efciency scores. Models 14 assume constant returns to scale (CRS) which is said to

prevail when an increase of all inputs by 1% leads to an increase of all outputs by 1% [19]. Models 1 and

3 are said to be input-oriented as the objective is to produce the observed outputs with a minimum input

R. Ramanathan / Computers & Operations Research 33 (2006) 12891307 1291

Table 1

DMUs, outputs and inputs for a DEA model

Output 1 Output 2 Output J Input 1 Input 2 Input I

DMU 1 y

11

y

12

y

1J

x

11

x

12

x

1I

DMU 2 y

21

y

22

y

2J

x

21

x

22

x

2I

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

DMU N Y

N1

y

N2

y

NJ

x

N1

x

N2

x

NI

level [20]. Models 2 and 4 are said to be output-oriented. More complex DEA formulations, including the

variable returns to scale (VRS) and Archimedean innitesimals, are also available in literature [8,16,17].

In all these models, decision variables are the values of the multipliers (elements of matrices U and V

for Model 1, U

and V

for Model 2, for Model 3, and for Model 4). Scalars and are also decision

variables for Models 3 and 4. The subscript m denotes the DMU for which efciency computations are

made. X and Y are the matrices of inputs and outputs, respectively, for all the DMUs, while X

m

and Y

m

are the matrices of inputs and outputs, respectively, for the mth DMU.

Model 1

max

U,V

z = V

T

m

Y

m

such that U

T

m

X

m

= 1,

V

T

m

Y U

T

m

X0,

V

T

m

, U

T

m

0,

(1)

Model 2

min

U

,V

= U

m

T

X

m

such that V

m

T

Y

m

= 1,

V

m

T

Y U

m

T

X0,

V

m

T

, U

m

T

0,

(2)

Model 3

min

,

m

such that YY

m

,

X

m

X

m

,

0;

m

free,

(3)

Model 4

max

,

m

such that Y

m

Y

m

,

XX

m

,

0;

m

free.

(4)

1292 R. Ramanathan / Computers & Operations Research 33 (2006) 12891307

Goal

C

1

C

2

C

3

C

4

A

1

A

2

A

3

Fig. 1. A simple AHP model.

2.2. The analytic hierarchy process

AHP is one of the most popular MCDM tools for formulating and analyzing decisions. The technique

is employed for ranking a set of alternatives or for the selection of the best in a set of alternatives. The

ranking/selection is done with respect to an overall goal, which is broken down into a set of criteria. A

brief discussion of AHP is provided in this section. More detailed description of AHP and application

issues can be found in Saaty [13]. AHP has been applied to numerous practical problems in the last few

decades [21].

Application of AHP to a decision problem involves four steps [22].

Step 1: Structuring of the decision problem into a hierarchical model. It includes decomposition of

the decision problem into elements according to their common characteristics and the formation of a

hierarchical model having different levels. A simple AHP model (Fig. 1) has three levels (goal, criteria

and alternatives). Though the simple model with three levels shown in Fig. 1 is the most common AHP

model, more complex models containing more than three levels are also used in the literature. For example,

criteria can be divided further into sub-criteria and sub-sub-criteria. Additional levels containing different

actors relevant to the problem under consideration may also be included in AHP studies [13].

Step 2: Making pair-wise comparisons and obtaining the judgment matrix. In this step, the elements

of a particular level are compared with respect to a specic element in the immediate upper level. The

resulting weights of the elements may be called the local weights (to be contrasted with nal weights,

discussed in Step 4).

The opinion of a decision-maker (DM) is elicited for comparing the elements. Elements are compared

pair-wise and judgments on comparative attractiveness of elements are captured using a rating scale (19

scale in traditional AHP [13]). Usually, an element receiving higher rating is viewed as superior (or more

attractive) compared to another one that receives a lower rating. The comparisons are used to form a

matrix of pair-wise comparisons called the judgment matrix A. Each entry a

ij

of the judgment matrix are

governed by the three rules: a

ij

>0; a

ij

=1/a

ji

; and a

ii

=1 for all i. If the transitivity property holds, i.e.,

a

ij

=a

ik

a

kj

, for all the entries of the matrix, then the matrix is said to be consistent. If the property does

not hold for all the entries, the level of inconsistency can be captured by a measure called consistency

ratio [13] (see next step).

For the model shown in Fig. 1, ve judgment matrices need to be elicited fromDMone for estimating

the local weights of criteria with respect to the goal (see Table 2Afor an illustrative judgment matrix), and

one each for computing the local weights of alternatives with respect to each of the four criteria (Table

2BE). All the entries in Table 2AE, except the local weights, are hypothetical values.

R. Ramanathan / Computers & Operations Research 33 (2006) 12891307 1293

Table 2

Illustration of AHP calculations for the model shown in Fig. 1

A: Comparison of criteria with respect to goal

C

1

C

2

C

3

C

4

Local weights

C

1

1 1 4 5 0.400

C

2

1 1 5 3 0.394

C

3

1/4 1/5 1 3 0.128

C

4

1/5 1/3 1/3 1 0.078

Consistency ratio = 0.088

B: Comparison of alternatives with respect to C

1

A

1

A

2

A

3

Local weights

A

1

1 1/3 5 0.279

A

2

3 1 7 0.649

A

3

1/5 1/7 1 0.072

Consistency ratio = 0.055

C: Comparison of alternatives with respect to C

2

A

1

A

2

A

3

Local weights

A

1

1 1/9 1/5 0.060

A

2

9 1 4 0.709

A

3

5 1/4 1 0.231

Consistency ratio = 0.061

D: Comparison of alternatives with respect to C

3

A

1

A

2

A

3

Local weights

A

1

1 2 5 0.582

A

2

1/2 1 3 0.309

A

3

1/5 1/3 1 0.109

Consistency ratio = 0.003

E: Comparison of alternatives with respect to C

4

A

1

A

2

A

3

Local weights

A

1

1 3 9 0.692

A

2

1/3 1 3 0.231

A

3

1/9 1/3 1 0.077

Consistency ratio = 0.000

F: Final weights of alternatives

A

1

0.261

A

2

0.590

A

3

0.148

1294 R. Ramanathan / Computers & Operations Research 33 (2006) 12891307

Step 3: Local weights and consistency of comparisons. In this step, local weights of the elements are

calculated fromthe judgment matrices using the eigenvector method (EVM). The normalized eigenvector

corresponding to the principal eigenvalue of the judgment matrix provides the weights of the correspond-

ing elements. Though EVM is followed widely in traditional AHP computations, other methods are also

suggested for calculating weights, including the logarithmic least-square technique (LLST) [23,24], goal

programming [25], and others [26]. When EVM is used, consistency ratio (CR) can be computed. For a

consistent matrix CR=0. Avalue of CRless than 0.1 is considered acceptable because human judgments

need not be always consistent, and there may be inconsistencies introduced because of the nature of scale

used. If CR for a matrix is more than 0.1, judgments should be elicited once again from the DM till he

gives more consistent judgments. Local weights computed for the illustrative judgment matrices using

EVM and the corresponding CR values are also shown in Table 2AE.

Step 4: Aggregation of weights across various levels to obtain the nal weights of alternatives. Once

the local weights of elements of different levels are obtained as outlined in Step 3, they are aggregated

to obtain nal weights of the decision alternatives (elements at the lowest level). For example, the nal

weight of alternative A

1

is computed using the following hierarchical (arithmetic) aggregation rule in

traditional AHP:

Final weight of A

1

=

j

__

Local weight of A

1

with

respect of criterion C

j

_

_

Local weight of

criterion C

j

__

. (5)

By denition, the weights of alternatives and importance of criteria are normalized so that they sum to

unity.

Note that a geometric variant of the above aggregation rule can also be used, especially when LLST

is used for computing local weights [24]. The nal weights represent the rating of the alternatives in

achieving the goal of the problem.

The nal weights computed using (5) for the illustration are shown in Table 2F. Thus, given the

hypothetical judgments of Table 2AE, alternative A

2

is the most preferred alternative, followed by

alternatives A

1

and then A

3

.

The popularity of AHP stems from its simplicity, exibility, intuitive appeal and its ability to mix

quantitative and qualitative criteria in the same decision framework. Despite its popularity, some short-

comings of AHP have been reported in the literature, which have limited its applicability. The number

of judgements to be elicited in AHP increases as the number of alternatives and criteria increase. This is

often a tiresome and exerting exercise for the DM. The issue of rank reversal [27] is one of the prominent

limitations of traditional AHP. The ranking of alternatives determined by the traditional AHP may be

altered by the addition or deletion of another alternative for consideration. For example, when a new

alternative A

4

is added to the list of alternatives discussed earlier, or when an existing alternative A

1

, A

2

orA

3

is removed, it is possible that their rankings change. Modications to the traditional AHP have been

suggested [24] to avoid the problem of rank reversal.

2.3. A literature survey on linking DEA and AHP

Both DEA and AHP are versatile tools in their own elds. While DEA has traditionally found ap-

plications for performance measurement of DMUs, AHP has been widely applied in MCDM problems

for estimating weights of alternatives when several criteria, both qualitative and quantitative, have to be

considered. In fact, many modern complex issues have been tackled using a combination of both the

R. Ramanathan / Computers & Operations Research 33 (2006) 12891307 1295

methods. Some articles have used AHP for handling subjective factors and to generate a set of numerical

values, and then used DEA to identify efciency score based on the entire data, including those generated

by the AHP [28,29]. Sinuany-Stern et al. [30] have applied DEA on pairs of units, used the resulting DEA

scores to generate a pair-wise comparison matrix and then applied AHP to generate weights of units from

the matrix.

AHP has also been used to introduce preference information in DEA calculations. Preference informa-

tion is introduced in the form of subjective weights derived using AHP [31,32]. Both these studies have

incorporated AHP weights in DEA using the method of assurance region [33].

Some papers have applied both the methods for a given problem and compared their outputs [3436].

In addition, DEA and AHP have been linked with other techniques for specic applications (e.g., DEA

with discriminant analysis and goal programming [37], AHP with goal programming [38], and AHP

with compromise programming [39]). In this paper, the concepts of efciency measurement in DEA are

integrated with the concepts of weight measurement in AHP.

3. A synthesis of concepts of DEA in deriving weights in AHP

In this section, it is proposed that DEA concepts can be used in the last two steps of applying AHP to a

decision problemnamely, deriving local weights froma given judgment matrix (Step 3) and aggregating

local weights to get nal weights (Step 4).

3.1. Using DEA concepts for deriving local weights from a judgment matrix

In this section, we propose DEA for deriving local weights from a judgment matrix. Efciency calcu-

lations using DEA require outputs and inputs. Each row of the judgment matrix is viewed as a DMU and

each column of the judgement matrix is viewed as an output. Thus a judgement matrix of size n n will

have n DMUs and n outputs. Note that the entries of the matrix are viewed as outputs as they have the

characteristics of outputs, viz. an element having higher rating is viewed better than the one that has a

lower rating. Since DEA calculations cannot be made entirely with outputs and require at least one input,

a dummy input that has a value of 1 for all the DMUs is employed. A comparison of traditional AHP

view and the proposed DEA view of a judgement matrix is shown in Fig. 2. It is proposed in this paper

that the efciency scores calculated using DEA models such as Models 14 could be interpreted as the

local weights of the DMUs.

3.1.1. Local weights using DEA for consistent judgment matrices

When applied to a consistent matrix, for which weights are known, DEA correctly estimates the true

weights. Specically, suppose that a predetermined set of n weights, say w

1

, w

2

, . . . , w

n

, is used to create

a consistent judgment matrix of size n given by

W =

_

_

_

_

w

1

/w

1

w

1

/w

2

w

1

/w

n

w

2

/w

1

w

2

/w

2

w

2

/w

n

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

w

n

/w

1

w

n

/w

2

w

n

/w

n

_

_

.

1296 R. Ramanathan / Computers & Operations Research 33 (2006) 12891307

E

l

e

m

e

n

t

1

E

l

e

m

e

n

t

2

E

l

e

m

e

n

t

n

Element 1 1 a

12

a

1N

Element 2 1/ a

12

1 a

2N

Element N 1/ a

1 N

1/ a

2 N

1

O

u

t

p

u

t

1

O

u

t

p

u

t

2

O

u

t

p

u

t

n

D

u

m

m

y

i

n

p

u

t

DMU 1 1 a

12

a

1N

DMU 2 1/ a

12

1

a

2N

1

1

DMU N 1/ a

1N

1/ a

2 N

1 1

Traditional AHP View Proposed DEA View

Fig. 2. A comparison of the traditional AHP view and the proposed DEA view of a judgement matrix.

Any weight derivation method, when applied to the above matrix W, should generate the true weights

w

1

, w

2

, . . . , w

n

. DEA correctly calculates the true weights for a consistent judgment matrix as proved in

Theorem 1. Note that it is not possible to make a similar verication for inconsistent matrices, because

there is no unique correct answer.

Theorem 1. For a consistent judgment matrix, the local weights of alternatives computed using DEA

coincide with the correct weights used to form the matrix.

Proof. Let there be n elements for comparison, leading to a judgment matrix W of size n. Without loss

of generality, assume that w

1

w

2

w

n

where w

i

represents the true weight of element i.

Model 4, with one dummy constant input, for computing the weight of element m is the following:

Model 6

max

m

such that

i=1

w

i

w

m

mi

,

n

i=1

mi

1,

0;

m

free,

(6)

where are the multipliers. Subscript mrepresents the element for which the efciency is being computed.

Note that, because of the nature of the consistent judgment matrix, the set of constraints Y

m

Y

m

in

Model 4 reduces to a single constraint

m

n

i=1

(w

i

/w

m

)

mi

in Model 6. Again because of the presence

of single constant dummy input, the second set of constraints XX

m

in Model 4 reduces to a single

constraint

n

i=1

mi

1 in Model 6. Further, it has been proved that this constraint reduces to strict equality

n

i=1

mi

= 1 at the optimal solution [40].

Substitute m = n in Model 6 to compute the weight of the last element n. At the optimal solution,

nn

= 1

n1

i=1

ni

where asterisk indicates optimal solution. Substituting in the rst constraint of

R. Ramanathan / Computers & Operations Research 33 (2006) 12891307 1297

Table 3

A look at the entries of Table 2A from the DEA perspective

DMU Output 1 Output 2 Output 3 Output 4 Input (dummy) DEA efciency

C

1

1 1 4 5 1 1

C

2

1 1 5 3 1 1

C

3

1/4 1/5 1 3 1 0.6

C

4

1/5 1/3 1/3 1 1 0.333

Model 6, we get

_

w

1

w

n

n1

+

w

2

w

n

n2

+ +

w

n1

w

n

n,n1

+

w

n

w

n

nn

,

w

1

w

n

n1

+

w

2

w

n

n2

+ +

w

n1

w

n

n,n1

+

_

1

n1

i=1

ni

_

,

1 +

_

w

1

w

n

1

_

n1

+

_

w

2

w

n

1

_

n2

+ +

_

w

n1

w

n

1

_

n,n1

.

(7)

If w

1

w

2

w

n

, all the entries insquare brackets inthe last equationof (7) will be negative. Hence,

the maximumvalue of

n

occurs when all the

n1

=

n2

= =

n,n1

=0.

Hence the optimal solution is

n

= 1,

nn

= 1 and

ni

= 0, i = 1, 2, . . . , n 1.

Using a similar logic, it can be proved that

1

= w

n

/w

1

,

2

= w

n

/w

2

, . . . ,

n1

= w

n

/w

n1

. Due

to the nature of the output-oriented envelopment DEA formulation, weights are actually the recip-

rocals of . Thus, the weights of the elements are in the ratio [w

1

/w

n

, w

2

/w

n

, . . . , w

n1

/w

n

, 1] or

[w

1

, w

2

, . . . , w

n1

].

3.1.2. Numerical illustration

As an example, consider Table 2A, which is a judgment matrix for comparing criteria with respect to

the goal. In the proposed approach, the entries of Table 2A are viewed as the performance (row-wise) of

DMUs C

1

, C

2

, C

3

and C

4

in terms of four outputs. The outputinput structure of DEA is shown in Table

3. In this case, any of Models 14 can be applied to get the local weights of the criteria. For example, to

get the nal weight of criterion C

1

, the following model (based on Model 1) can be used:

Model 8

max z =v

11

+ v

12

+ 4v

13

+ 5v

14

s.t. u

11

= 1,

v

11

+ v

12

+ 4v

13

+ 5v

14

u

11

0,

v

11

+ v

12

+ 5v

13

+ 3v

14

u

11

0,

1/4v

11

+ 1/5v

12

+ v

13

+ 3v

14

u

11

0,

1/5v

11

+ 1/3v

12

+ 1/3v

13

+ v

14

u

11

0,

v

11

, v

12

, v

13

, v

14

, u

11

0.

(8)

1298 R. Ramanathan / Computers & Operations Research 33 (2006) 12891307

C

r

i

t

e

r

i

o

n

1

C

r

i

t

e

r

i

o

n

2

C

r

i

t

e

r

i

o

n

J

Alternative 1 y

11

y

12

y

1J

Alternative 2 y

21

y

22

y

2J

Alternative N y

N1

y

N2

y

NJ

O

u

t

p

u

t

1

O

u

t

p

u

t

2

O

u

t

p

u

t

J

D

u

m

m

y

i

n

p

u

t

DMU 1 y

11

y

12

y

1J

1

DMU 2 y

21

y

22

y

2J

1

DMU N y

N1

y

N2

y

NJ

1

Traditional AHP View Proposed DEA View

Fig. 3. A comparison of the traditional AHP view and the proposed DEA view of the matrix of local weights of alternatives with

respect to all criteria.

In the above model, the rst subscript (i.e., 1) refers to the reference DMU for which efciency is

being computed (criterion C

1

here). The optimal objective function value of Model 8, when solved, will

give the local weight of criterion C

1

. To get the nal weight of other criteria, models similar to Model 8

should be solved by changing the objective function. The DEA efciency scores representing the local

weights of DMUs (i.e., the criteria here) are presented in the last column of Table 3 (1.000, 1.000, 0.600,

and 0.333).

Weights computed using the DEA approach differs from those obtained using EVM (see Table 2A).

Note that, for comparing with the weights computed by DEA, the local weights obtained using EVM

should be adjusted by dividing all the weights by the largest one, resulting in the weights 1, 0.985, 0.319,

and 0.195. These weights are different from those calculated by DEA (last column of Table 3). The

difference is because of the assumptions underlying the methods.

Note that while DMU C

1

produces more Output 4, DMU C

2

produces more Output 3 and hence it

is not possible to say which one is better than the other. However, DMUs C

1

and C

2

have produced more

or equal amounts of outputs compared to DMU C

3

while all the DMUs produced more or equal amounts

of outputs compared to DMU C

4

. It is not possible to conclusively say that the DM prefers C

1

or C

2

, but

it is possible to conclusively say that he prefers C

1

and C

2

to C

3

, and, C

1

, C

2

and C

3

to C

4

. This leads

to a situation to believe that the DM would rank C

1

and C

2

at the same level, then rank C

3

and rank C

4

at the bottom. Thus DEA assigns in unit efciency scores for C

1

and C

2

, a lower score for C

3

(0.6) and

the lowest score for C

4

(0.333).

3.2. Aggregation of local weights to get nal weights

In this section, we propose DEA to aggregate local weights to get nal weights of elements (Step 4 of

AHP). Suppose the local weights of alternatives in terms of all the criteria are available as shown in Fig.

3. The entry y

mj

represents the local weight of alternative m with respect to criterion j. In traditional AHP,

the arithmetic aggregation rule (5) is employed for aggregation. DEA is proposed in this paper for the

aggregation. When DEA is used, alternatives are considered as DMUs and their local weights in terms of

R. Ramanathan / Computers & Operations Research 33 (2006) 12891307 1299

the criteria will be viewed as outputs. With a dummy input, the DEA view of the matrix of local weights

is also shown in Fig. 3.

Normally, when local weights are aggregated to nal weights, the importance measures of criteria

(local weights of criteria in this case) are also used. For example, the aggregation rule (5) is weighted

arithmetic aggregation incorporating the local weights of weights. However, DEA does not normally

require the local weights of criteria for aggregation. Hence, aggregation using DEA could be discussed

under two cases: (a) without considering the local weights of criteria for aggregation and (b) considering

local weights of criteria.

Case (a): When DEA is used for aggregation, the importance measures of criteria are automatically

generated by DEA as the values of multipliers using linear programming. In this case, a simple DEA

model (any of models 14) of data in Fig. 3 could be used to get the nal weights of alternatives. Hence,

the local weights of criteria are not necessary in DEA.

Case (b): If needed, the importance measures of criteria can be imposed in DEA using the method of

assurance region [33]. This is done by appending additional constraints that specify relationships among

the multipliers in the original DEA model. For example, the importance of criteria are incorporated in

Model 1 in the form of multipliers v

m1

=d

j

v

mj

(for all j =1, 2, . . . , J and d

1

=1). If criterion 1 is half

and thrice as important as criteria 2 and 3, respectively, then d

2

=1/2 and d

3

=3. An interesting theorem

for this Case (b) is proved in the next section.

The above aggregation procedures assume a simple AHP model. The procedures could be extended

for more complex models having more levels, but we consider the simple model in the remainder of this

section.

3.2.1. Aggregation to nal weights using DEA when relationships among importance of criteria are

exogenously specied

When the importance of criteria are exogenously specied and incorporated in a DEA model by

providing additional constraints restricting the values of multipliers as in Case (b) above, the nal weights

of alternatives estimatedbyDEAis proportional tothe weightedsumof local weights as showninTheorem

2.

Theorem 2. Let the local weights of alternatives with respect to different criteria be given by

_

_

_

_

y

11

y

12

y

1J

y

21

y

22

y

2J

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

y

N1

y

N2

y

NJ

_

_

,

where y

mj

is the local weight of alternative m with respect to criterion j. There are N alternatives and

J criteria. If the importance of criteria are incorporated in the form of multipliers v

m1

= d

j

v

mj

(for all

j =1, 2, . . . , J and d

1

=1) then nal weights aggregated using DEA is proportional to the weighted sum

J

j=1

d

j

y

mj

for alternative m.

Proof. We use the formulation shown by Model 1 for the proof here. For computing the nal weight of

the alternative m Model 1 can be written as follows:

1300 R. Ramanathan / Computers & Operations Research 33 (2006) 12891307

Model 9

max

J

j=1

v

mj

y

mj

subject to

u

m1

= 1;

J

j=1

v

mj

y

nj

u

m1

0; n = 1, 2, . . . , N,

v

mj

, u

m1

0; j = 1, 2, . . . , J.

(9)

When the importance of criteria are incorporated by introducing additional constraints of the form

v

m1

= d

j

v

mj

(for all j = 1, 2, . . . , J and d

1

= 1) in Model 9, the model can be rewritten as follows:

Model 10

max v

m1

J

j=1

d

j

y

mj

s.t.

v

m1

J

j=1

d

j

y

nj

1; n = 1, 2, . . . , N,

v

n1

0.

(10)

Model 10 will choose the value of v

m1

such that the largest value of the constraints v

m1

J

j=1

d

j

y

nj

is

equal to unity for n = 1, 2, . . . , N. Since these constraints are the same for all the N DEA formulations

for nding the efciency of all the N DMUs, the value of v

m1

is the same for all the DEA programs. Thus,

the efciency score of the mth DMU is proportional to

J

j=1

d

j

y

mj

.

Corollary 1. If all the criteria have equal weights, then the nal weights are proportional simple sum

J

j=1

y

mj

.

Proof. If all the criteria have equal weights, the multipliers have equal value. In this case, d

j

= 1 for all

j =1, 2, . . . , J. Hence the efciency score of the mth DMU is proportional to

J

j=1

d

j

y

mj

or

J

j=1

y

mj

.

The calculations of the proposed approach can be illustrated using the entries of Table 2BE. The local

weights of alternatives with respect to each of the criteria can be computed using DEA as explained in

Section 3.1. The local weights are shown in Table 4 (columns 25). Aggregation using DEA is discussed

below for the two cases, (a) and (b).

Case (a): Without using the local weights of criteria: In this case, any of the models (1) to (4) are

applied for the local weights in Table 4. The local weights are considered as outputs of alternatives, and

R. Ramanathan / Computers & Operations Research 33 (2006) 12891307 1301

Table 4

Local and nal weights of alternatives computed using the proposed approach

Local weights of alternatives with Final weights

respect to individual criteria

C

1

C

2

C

3

C

4

Case (a) Case (b)

no restrictions with additional restrictions

on criteria v

m1

= v

m2

;

weights v

m1

= (1/0.6)v

m3

; v

m1

= 3v

m4

A

1

0.714 0.111 1.000 1.000 1.000 0.712

A

2

1.000 1.000 0.600 0.333 1.000 1.000

A

3

0.143 0.556 0.200 0.111 0.556 0.346

a dummy input is introduced. For example, to get the nal weight of alternative A

1

, the following model

(based on Model 1) can be used:

Model 11

max z =0.714v

11

+ 0.111v

12

+ v

13

+ v

14

s.t. u

11

= 1,

0.714v

11

+ 0.111v

12

+ v

13

+ v

14

u

11

0,

v

11

+ v

12

+ 0.6v

13

+ 0.333v

14

u

11

0,

0.143v

11

+ 0.556v

12

+ 0.2v

13

+ 0.111v

14

u

11

0,

v

11

, v

12

, v

13

, v

14

, u

11

0.

(11)

The optimal objective function value of Model 11, when solved, will give the nal weight of alternative

A

1

. To get the nal weight of other alternatives, models similar to Model 11 should be solved by changing

the objective function. The resulting nal weights of all the three alternatives are shown in Table 4 (1.000,

1.000, and 0.556). These weights are logical because A

1

performs well in terms of Criteria C

3

and C

4

,

while A

2

performs well in terms of Criteria C

1

and C

2

, and hence it is not possible to decide which one

of them is better.

Case (b): using the local weights of criteria: In many AHP studies, the importance measures of criteria

are usually considered while calculating the nal weights. Using the values of local weights of criteria

(see Table 3), the following additional constraints can be introduced in the DEA model that calculates the

nal weight of DMU m: v

m1

=v

m2

; v

m1

=(1/0.6)v

m3

; v

m1

=3v

m4

. Specically, when calculating the

nal weight of alternative A

1

, the following constraints should be added to Model 11: v

11

= v

12

; v

11

=

(1/0.6)v

13

; v

11

= 3v

14

. The resulting nal weights of alternatives, shown in the last column of Table 4,

are 0.712, 1.000, and 0.346. As proved in Theorem 2, the nal weights are proportional to the weighted

sum of local weights. For example, for alternative A

1

, the weighted sum can be calculated as [(0.714

1) + (0.111 1) + (1 0.6) + (1 0.333)] = 1.7583. The weighted sum for the three alternatives are

1.7583, 2.471, and 0.856, which are proportional to 0.712, 1.000, and 0.346.

These weights again seem logical when compared with the weights obtained using DEA with no

restrictions on criteria weights. When criteria 3 and 4 are given lower importance, alternative A

1

which

performs well in terms of these two criteria, cannot be regarded as efcient as alternative A

2

. Hence, the

DEA scores now result in lower weight for alternative A

1

.

1302 R. Ramanathan / Computers & Operations Research 33 (2006) 12891307

It is suggested that Case (a) should be preferred when calculating nal weights of alternatives unless

there is a strong reason to introduce criteria weights (Case (b)). Even if criteria weights are very important,

the nal weights calculated with and without restrictions (i.e., Cases (a) and (b)) should be presented

together.

Because of the synthesis of concepts of DEA withAHP, the new approach proposed in this paper could

be called data envelopment analytic hierarchy process (DEAHP) (thanks to the common A in both

the acronyms).

4. Some important characteristics of DEAHP

In this section, some important characteristics of DEAHP are explored in more detail.

4.1. Independence of irrelevant alternatives

The rule of independence of irrelevant alternatives (IIR) can be stated as follows. If an alternative is

eliminated from consideration, then the new ordering for the remaining alternatives should be equivalent

(i.e., same ordering) to the original ordering for the same alternatives [41]. This issue of IIR is important

in the context of AHP because it has been reported that traditional AHP does not satisfy this rule [27].

DEAHP satises this rule as discussed below.

Note that in DEAHP, the weights of alternatives (i.e., the efciency scores) are calculated separately

for each alternative using a separate linear programming model. This can be contrasted from the EVM

where weights of all the alternatives are derived simultaneously. In addition, while traditional AHP uses

arithmetic normalization, no such normalization is done in the DEAHP. Further, the DEAHP weights are

calculated relative to the weight of the best rated alternative.

For the discussion below, efcient alternatives are interpreted as relevant alternatives because they play

an important role in the rank ordering of all the alternatives. In a general DEA formulation (which is

applicable for DEAHPalso), if the alternative being eliminated is not an efcient one (i.e., if the alternative

being eliminated is an irrelevant alternative), then the new ranking calculated will again be relative to

the highest ranked one, and the ordering of alternatives will not change. This is proved in Theorem 3

below. For the proof, we use the general DEA inputoutput matrix shown in Table 1. Since DEAHP is a

particular case of DEA, the results are applicable to DEAHP also.

Theorem3. Consider the inputoutput matrix showninTable 1. WhenDEAis appliedtondthe efciency

scores of the DMUs, the relative rankings of DMUs will not change if an inefcient DMU is removed

from the original set of DMUs or added to the original set of DMUs.

Proof. We use the DEA formulation given by Model 1 for the proof. The model maximizes the objective

function by choosing appropriate values of decision variables V

T

m

, U

T

m

. Note that the objective function

(i.e., the efciency score) is 1 for efcient DMUs and less than one for inefcient DMUs.

Consider the constraints V

T

m

Y U

T

m

X0. These represent N constraints, one each for the N DMUs.

First we show that these set of constraints will not be binding (i.e., will not be satised in equation form)

for inefcient DMUs. The proof is given by contradiction. If the constraint is binding for a DMU, say the

kth DMU, then the corresponding constraint for the kth DMU can be written as V

T

m

Y

k

U

T

m

X

k

=0 which

R. Ramanathan / Computers & Operations Research 33 (2006) 12891307 1303

Table 5

Data used in Ref. [27]. Source: Ref. [24]

Criterion Alternatives A

1

A

2

A

3

A

4

A

1

1 1/9 1 1/9

C

1

A

2

9 1 9 1

Weight 0.333 A

3

1 1/9 1 1/9

A

4

9 1 9 1

A

1

1 9 9 9

C

2

A

2

1/9 1 1 1

Weight 0.333 A

3

1/9 1 1 1

A

4

1/9 1 1 1

A

1

1 8/9 8 8/9

C

3

A

2

9/8 1 9 1

weight 0.333 A

3

1/8 1/9 1 1/9

A

4

9/8 1 9 1

leads to V

T

m

Y

k

= 1 when U

T

m

X

k

= 1. Using the same set of multipliers (V

T

m

,U

T

m

) in the DEA formulation

for kth DMU, we get its efciency score as unity, which means that the kth DMU has to be efcient. Thus

for inefcient DMUs the constraint V

T

m

Y U

T

m

X0 is not binding.

From the theory of sensitivity analysis in Linear Programming [42], it is obvious that the opti-

mal solutions of linear program (Model 1 here) will not change if a non-binding constraint is re-

moved or added to the program. Thus the efciency scores and the relative rankings of DMUs will

not change if an inefcient DMU is removed from the original set of DMUs or added to the original set

of DMUs.

Note that, if the alternative being eliminated is the highest ranked alternative (i.e., if the alternative

being eliminated is a relevant one), the new ranking of remaining set of alternatives could change. Using

the logic of Theorem 3, it is clear that constraints given by V

T

m

Y U

T

m

X0 will be satised in equation

form for efcient DMUs and the theory of LP says that optimal solution of Model 1 may change when

a binding constraint is removed. The new DEA efciency scores are calculated relative to the weight

of the next highest ranked alternative. The efciency scores of those inefcient alternatives for which

the removed alternative is a peer will improve while the scores of other inefcient units for which the

removed alternative is not a peer will not change.

4.1.1. Illustration

It can be shown via illustration that DEAHP does not suffer from rank reversal when copies of alter-

natives are added. The famous rank-reversal problem pointed out by Belton and Gear [27] (as reported

in Ref. [24], see also Ref. [43]) in the context of traditional AHP is used as illustration here. The pair-

wise comparison data used by Belton and Gear [27] is shown in Table 5. Three alternatives, A

1

, A

2

,

and A

3

, and three criteria with equal weights were initially considered. Note that the entries in all the

matrices are consistent. The nal weights of the alternatives using the traditional AHP are 0.45, 0.47

1304 R. Ramanathan / Computers & Operations Research 33 (2006) 12891307

Table 6

Final weights of alternatives computed using DEAHP for the data in Table 5

No restrictions on criteria weights Equal criteria weights

No copy added Copy of A

2

is No copy added Copy of A

2

is

included as A

4

included as A

4

A

1

1.000000 1.000000 0.94737 0.94737

A

2

1.000000 1.000000 1.00000 1.00000

A

3

0.200000 0.200000 0.15789 0.15789

A

4

1.000000 1.00000

and 0.08, which show that A

2

is the alternative with the largest weight. When a copy A

4

of A

2

is

added to the set, the nal weights calculated using traditional AHP become 0.37, 0.29, 0.06, and 0.29,

which show A

1

as alternative with the largest weight, leading to a reversal in the rank ordering of the

alternatives.

The calculations using DEAHP for the same set of data are shown in Table 6. The table shows DEAHP

calculations when the local weights of alternatives under each criterion is aggregated with no restrictions

on the weights of criteria, as well as when equal criteria weights are forced. In both the cases the rankings

are not changed. Because of the absence of normalization, even the numerical values of weights are

preserved in DEAHP.

4.2. Some application issues

Normally, when DEA is applied for computing efciency scores, two issues are important.

1. The DMUs should be homogenous units [44]. They should perform the same tasks, and should have

similar objectives. The inputs and outputs characterizing the performance of DMUs should be iden-

tical except for differences in intensity or magnitude. AHP is also based on a similar homogeneity

axiom [45,46]. Hence, the homogeneity requirement is satised for the approach proposed in this

paper.

2. If the number of inputs and outputs are much larger than the number of DMUs, the discriminating

power of DEA will be affected. Usually, as the number of inputs and outputs increase, there will be

more number of DMUs that will get an efciency rating of 1, as they become too specialized to be

evaluated with respect to other units. Certain thumb rules are specied in DEA literature to avoid this

problem. For example, the number of DMUs is expected to be larger than the product of number of

inputs and outputs or the sample size should be at least 2 or 3 times larger than the sum of the number

of inputs and outputs [44]. However, there are many examples in the literature where DEA has been

used with small sample sizes.

This issue is likely to affect the performance of DEAHP. This may not be very serious when deriving

local weights using a judgment matrix of size n, as the total number of inputs (one dummy input) and

outputs (n) is not very large compared to the number of DMUs (n). But, this issue is likely to be serious

R. Ramanathan / Computers & Operations Research 33 (2006) 12891307 1305

when computing the nal weights because the total of inputs (1) and outputs (number of criteria) is

normally smaller than the number of alternatives. This will affect the discriminating power of DEA.

At the extreme, when all the alternatives receive largest local weights in terms of some criteria, DEA

will assign unit nal weights to all the alternatives. However, note that this is a limitation of DEA in

the traditional production efciency applications, but need not be a limitation when applied for deriving

weights. Any method, including the traditional AHP, will suffer from the same limitation (approximately

equal nal weights for all alternatives) for a similar situation.

4.3. Computational complexity

For a single judgment matrix having n alternatives, DEA requires that n different linear programming

problems are solved to arrive at the weights. Hence, when compared to EVM, DEA requires more

computational effort. However, given the computational capacity of present-day computers, availability

of specialized DEA software and the tremendous progress in the computing speeds, this problem will be

of less concern.

5. Summary and conclusions

Data envelopment analysis (DEA) has been proposed in this paper for deriving weights from the

judgment matrices of the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). If the decision maker is not able, categorically,

to decide whether one alternative is better than another, he will not be in a position to think that one is

more important than the other, and this is the logic employed by DEA for calculating the weights. It has

been proved that DEA calculates true weights for consistent judgment matrices. DEA is further used to

aggregate local weights of alternatives in terms of different criteria in AHP to nal weights. Because of

the synthesis, the proposed approach is named data envelopment analytic hierarchy process (DEAHP).

It has been proved and illustrated using a well known example that DEAHP does not suffer from rank

reversal when an irrelevant alternative(s) is added or removed. Finally, some application issues of DEAHP,

namely homogeneity, discriminating power and computational efforts, are discussed. Thus, DEAHP has

been proposed in this paper as an alternative to the traditional methods of weight derivation in AHP, and

it has been proved that DEAHP can be superior as it can avoid rank-reversal problem in AHP.

As this paper proposes to combine the concepts in two popular decision making techniques, several

more issues have to be researched further. For example, it has been proved that DEAHP calculates correct

weights for a consistent judgment matrix, but its behavior with inconsistent matrices should be studied

further. This paper has outlined the underlying logic behind the approach and has provided a justication

for the use of DEAHP. However, the performance of DEAHP when used with matrices with different

levels of inconsistencies could be empirically studied, similar to the empirical research on comparing the

traditional eigenvector method of AHP and the logarithmic least square technique [23]. As DEA is based

on linear programming, DEAHP may be compared and contrasted with other linear programming based

techniques suggested for deriving weights from judgment matrices, such as goal programming [25,26].

Finally, DEAHP seems to be related to some research studies reported in the utility theory literature. Using

DEA (which aggregates inputs and outputs using a weighted additive function) to derive local weights

from AHP judgment matrices is closely related to the use of additive value functions in the presence of

1306 R. Ramanathan / Computers & Operations Research 33 (2006) 12891307

partial information about the weights [47,48]. The relationships could be explored further. They form

topics for further research in this direction.

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