what is diminishing returns
Diminishing return, also known as diminishing marginal return, is a concept in economics that refers to the situation where an increasing quantity of a resource (input) leads to a decreasing marginal increase in production (output). It is a fundamental principle that is widely applicable in many fields, including agriculture, manufacturing, and service industries.
The concept of diminishing return arises because of the limitation of resources and the difficulty in adding more and more of the same resource to a production process. The marginal increase in production is the change in output resulting from the addition of one more unit of a particular input. When this increase starts to decline as more units of the same input are added, it is said to be a case of diminishing return.
For example, consider a small farmer who wants to increase their crop production. Initially, adding more fertilizer or seeds to the fields may lead to a substantial increase in crop yield. However, as the farmer continues to add more fertilizer or seeds, the extra yield produced by each additional unit will start to decrease, eventually reaching a point where adding more of these inputs will no longer increase the crop yield. This is an example of diminishing return.
In manufacturing, the same principle applies. If a factory increases the number of workers to produce more units of a product, at some point, the extra production from each additional worker will start to decline, reaching a point where adding more workers will no longer increase the output. The same concept applies to service industries, where the quality of service may decline as more customers are added to a system that is already stretched to capacity.
Diminishing return is a critical concept for understanding resource allocation and decision-making. By recognizing the point at which marginal return starts to decline, firms and individuals can make better decisions about how to allocate their resources and how to allocate their time and effort. For example, a farmer may decide to allocate their resources to a different crop that provides a higher marginal return, or a factory may choose to invest in new technology to increase productivity and avoid the effects of diminishing return.
In conclusion, diminishing return is an important principle that has significant implications for the way we allocate resources, make decisions, and design production processes. Understanding the concept of diminishing return can help individuals and organizations make better decisions and achieve more efficient and effective outcomes.
diminishing returns formula
The formula for diminishing returns can be derived as follows:
Let’s consider a production function where Q is the output produced and L and K are the inputs used (labor and capital, respectively). The marginal product of labor (MPL) is the increase in output that results from the addition of one more unit of labor, and the marginal product of capital (MPK) is the increase in output that results from the addition of one more unit of capital.
MPL = dQ/dL MPK = dQ/dK
The average product of labor (APL) is the total output produced per unit of labor and is calculated by dividing the total output by the number of units of labor used.
APL = Q/L
The average product of capital (APK) is the total output produced per unit of capital and is calculated by dividing the total output by the number of units of capital used.
APK = Q/K
The law of diminishing returns states that as more units of a single input are added to the production process, the marginal increase in output will eventually decline, reaching a point where the marginal product will start to decrease. This is demonstrated by the declining average product of labor or capital as more units of the input are added to the production process.
In conclusion, the formula for diminishing returns can be expressed in terms of the marginal and average products of labor and capital, and is based on the observation that as more units of a single input are added to the production process, the marginal increase in output will eventually decline.
Law of diminishing returns in everyday life
The law of diminishing returns is a principle that is widely applicable in everyday life and can be seen in many different contexts. Here are a few examples:
Home renovation projects:
When you start renovating your home, the first few improvements can result in a significant increase in the value of your property. However, as you continue to add more and more upgrades, the marginal increase in value may start to decline and eventually reach a point where additional renovations will not result in a proportional increase in value.
When you start exercising regularly, you may experience a significant improvement in your fitness level. However, as you continue to exercise, the marginal increase in fitness may start to decline, and eventually, you may reach a point where additional exercise will not result in a proportional improvement in your fitness level.
Learning a new skill:
When you first start learning a new skill, the marginal improvement in your abilities can be significant. However, as you continue to practice, the marginal increase in your abilities may start to decline and eventually reach a point where additional practice will not result in a proportional improvement in your skills.
When you are planning a party, the first few guests you invite may result in a significant increase in the overall excitement and atmosphere of the event. However, as you continue to invite more and more guests, the marginal increase in excitement may start to decline and eventually reach a point where additional guests will not result in a proportional increase in excitement.
These examples demonstrate how the law of diminishing returns can be seen in many different aspects of everyday life. Understanding this principle can help individuals make better decisions and allocate their resources more effectively to achieve the outcomes they desire.