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Data Envelopment Analysis: From Normative to Descriptive Performance Evaluation


Nadia Vazquez Novoa

The question of modern performance evaluation has been extensively discussed in the literature, leading to a call for models including non-optimizing behaviors of decision makers and non-financial performance criteria. A promising management instrument is data envelopment analysis (DEA), which enables the aggregation of financial and non-financial indicators into a single measure. This work contributes to a better understanding of DEA from two perspectives: (i) it offers a normative solution to the zero-value weight problem and (ii) it provides the first experimental results on behavioral DEA based on an original taxonomy of cognitive biases related to performance evaluation. Behavioral DEA is a completely new research area which yields plenty of research opportunities.

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In first place I would like to thank my tutor Professor Heinz Ahn for guiding me during all these years, for teaching me how to write journal articles and make presentations at different conferences, and especially for letting me choose such an interesting research topic. I really enjoyed this time as a doctoral student, which included not only successful results, but also many failed experiments that I finally disregarded – even if they were very helpful in this process of learning. In second place I want to acknowledge Professor Mette Asmild for encouraging me to continue doing behavioral research in DEA and Professor Dietrich von der Oelsnitz, not only for being by second reviewer, but also for allowing me to conduct some of my experiments with his students.

I also want to thank all my family, especially my husband, who supported me in the most different manners and accepted to live with me and all my books and journals for such a long time. At this point, I definitely need to mention the support given by my grandma Coca, who reminded me every day about the worst planning fallacy of my life (i.e., the estimated time for finishing my thesis) and helped me praying to St. Rita for finishing what, at some point, appeared to be a mission impossible.

Further, I want to thank all the students and interns who supported me in the process of collecting literature and experimental data and all my colleagues...

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