List of production functions

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The production functions listed below, and their properties are shown for the case of two factors of production, capital (K), and labor (L), mostly for heuristic purposes. These functions and their properties are easily generalizable to include additional factors of production (like land, natural resources, entrepreneurship, etc.)

A production function can also be seen as the dynamics of national output/national income. This list is to collect production functions & the dynamics of national output/income that have been used in literature & textbooks.


There are three common ways to incorporate technology (or the efficiency with which factors of production are used) into a production function:

  • Hicks-neutral technology, or "factor augmenting":
  • Harrod-neutral technology, or "labor augmenting":
  • Solow-neutral technology, or "capital augmenting":

Elasticity of substitution[edit]

The elasticity of substitution between factors of production is a measure of how easily one factor can be substituted for another. With two factors of production, say, K and L, it is a measure of the curvature of a production isoquant. The mathematical definition is:

where "slope" denotes the slope of the isoquant, given by:

Returns to scale[edit]

Returns to scale can be

  • Increasing returns to scale: doubling all input usages more than doubles output.
  • Decreasing returns to scale: doubling all input usages less than doubles output.
  • Constant returns to scale: doubling all input usages exactly doubles output.

Some Famous forms[edit]

, with which includes the special cases of:

  • Linear production (or perfect substitutes)
  • Translog, a generealization of Cobb-Douglas, though not of CES

See also[edit]