Measuring potential sub-unit efficiency to counter the aggregation bias in benchmarking
The paper deals with benchmarking cases where highly aggregated decision making units are in the data set. It is shown that these units – consisting of sub-units which are not further known by the evaluator – are likely to receive an unjustifiable harsh evaluation, here referred to as aggrega-tion bias. To counter this bias, we present an approach which allows to calculate the potential sub-unit efficiency of a decision making unit by taking into account the possible impact of its sub-units’ aggregation without having disaggregated sub-unit data. Based on data envelopment analy-sis, the approach is operationalized in several ways. Finally, we apply our method to the bench-marking model actually used by the Brazilian Electricity Regulator to measure the cost efficiency of the Brazilian distribution system operators. For this case, our results reveal that the potential effect of the aggregation bias on the operators’ efficiency scores is enormous.
License Holder: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Journal of Business Economics. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11573-018-0901-0
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