Test Your Knowledge of the Production Function in Economics



9 Questions

What is the production function used for in economics?

What are the inputs to the production function commonly termed as?

What is the difference between homogeneous and homothetic production functions?

What is the Cobb-Douglas production function?

What is the optimum input/output combination for a price-taking firm?

What are the two major criticisms of the standard form of the production function?

What is the relationship between physical inputs and outputs in a production process described by?

What are the inputs and outputs in a production process?

What is the income generated by a production process?


The Production Function in Economics

  • The production function gives the technological relation between inputs and outputs of goods.

  • It is used to define marginal product and distinguish allocative efficiency, which is a key focus of economics.

  • Shephard's distance functions or directional distance functions are used for modelling the case of many outputs and inputs.

  • Aggregate production functions are estimated in macroeconomics to distinguish economic growth due to changes in factor allocation and advancing technology.

  • Economic output is not a function of input, but a production function is customarily assumed to specify the maximum output obtainable from a given set of inputs.

  • The production function allows economists to focus on allocative efficiency and abstract from technical and managerial problems.

  • Under certain assumptions, the production function can be used to derive a marginal product for each factor, and the profit-maximizing firm will choose to add input until the marginal cost matches the marginal product.

  • The inputs to the production function are commonly termed factors of production and may represent primary factors, which are stocks.

  • The production function abstracts away from secondary factors and intermediate products consumed in a production process.

  • The production function is not a full model of the production process and does not model the business processes.

  • The production function is central to neoclassical economics and its definition of efficiency, analysis of how market prices can govern the achievement of allocative efficiency, and an analysis of the distribution of income.

  • A production function can be expressed in a functional form as the right side of an equation, such as the linear function or the Cobb-Douglas production function.Production Function Summary

  • A production function shows the maximum quantity of output that can be obtained from a specified level of input usage.

  • The function can be plotted on a graph, with all points above the function being unobtainable with current technology.

  • The range of the function can be divided into three stages: Stage 1, where output per unit of input increases; Stage 2, where output increases at a decreasing rate; and Stage 3, where variable input is over-utilized.

  • A firm can shift its production function upward by adjusting the level of inputs that are fixed in the short run.

  • Homogeneous production functions are those that are homogeneous of degree m, meaning the function exhibits increasing returns to scale if m>1, decreasing returns to scale if m<1, and constant returns to scale if m=1.

  • Homothetic production functions are a special class that exhibit constant returns to scale.

  • The Cobb-Douglas production function exhibits increasing, decreasing, or constant returns to scale depending on the value of the sum of the input usage levels.

  • The optimum input/output combination for a price-taking firm will be in Stage 2.Overview of Production Function Theory and Criticisms

  • A production function is a mathematical expression that relates inputs to outputs in production of goods and services.

  • A linearly homogeneous production function with inputs of capital and labour has the properties that the marginal and average physical products of both can be expressed as functions of the capital-labour ratio alone.

  • Homothetic functions are functions whose marginal technical rate of substitution is homogeneous of degree zero.

  • Aggregate production functions for whole nations are sometimes constructed, but there are methodological problems associated with them, and economists have debated extensively whether the concept is valid.

  • There are two major criticisms of the standard form of the production function.

  • During the 1950s, '60s, and '70s there was a lively debate about the theoretical soundness of production functions. The criticism was directed primarily at aggregate production functions, but microeconomic production functions were also put under scrutiny.

  • It is impossible to conceive of capital in such a way that its quantity is independent of the rates of interest and wages.

  • It has been claimed that empirical results firmly support the use of neoclassical well-behaved aggregate production functions, but Anwar Shaikh has demonstrated that they also have no empirical relevance, as long as the alleged good fit comes from an accounting identity, not from any underlying laws of production/distribution.

  • Natural resources are usually absent in production functions.

  • Robert Solow and Joseph Stiglitz attempted to develop a more realistic production function by including natural resources, but economist Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen criticized their approach.

  • Georgescu-Roegen can be understood as criticizing Solow and Stiglitz's approach to mathematically modelling factors of production.

  • The "independent" energy-dependent production function can be revised by considering energy-dependent labor and capital input functions.

  • Similar arguments could be used to develop more realistic production functions that consider other depletable natural resources.The Production Function: Theory and Practice

  • The production function describes the relationship between physical inputs and outputs in a production process.

  • To apply production functions practically, the physical inputs and outputs are valued by their prices.

  • The economic value of outputs minus the economic value of inputs is the income generated by the production process.

  • By keeping prices fixed between two periods, the income change generated by a change in the production function can be measured.

  • The production function is a practical concept used in real-world situations.

  • The theory of production functions is a fundamental concept in economics.

  • The production function is used to analyze the relationship between inputs and outputs in a production process.

  • Inputs in a production process include land, labor, and capital.

  • Outputs in a production process include goods and services.

  • The production function can be used to identify the optimal combination of inputs to produce a given output.

  • The production function is a key tool for firms to maximize their profits.

  • The production function is also used in macroeconomic analysis to understand the relationship between inputs and outputs in an entire economy.


Test your knowledge of the production function in economics with this quiz. From understanding the basic definition of the production function to analyzing its practical applications, this quiz covers a range of topics related to this fundamental concept in economics. Challenge yourself with questions on the different stages of the production function, types of production functions, and criticisms of the standard form of the production function. Whether you are a student of economics or just interested in learning more about this topic, this quiz is a great way to test your understanding of

Ready to take the quiz?

Play Quiz