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- 1. In This Lecture… Production with two Variable Inputs : Production Isoquants, Isocost Lines, Least Cost Combination Factors, MRTS and two Special Cases of Production Functions – Perfect Substitutes and Perfect Complements Introduction to Law of Returns to Scale
- 2. Production with Two Variable Inputs In the long run, all factors of Production are variable. One of the decisions a firm can face in the long run is which combination of factors of production to use. Economic efficiency involves choosing those factors so that the cost of production is at minimum. If the firm uses two inputs – labor and capital, both of which are variable, then the long run production functions are of type---- X = f (L,K)
- 3. Isoquant/Isocost Analysis In analyzing least cost combination of factors, graphical analysis of Isoquant and Isocost Analysis is required.
- 4. Concept of Isoquant Isoquant or Iso-product curve shows different combinations of labor and capital with which a firm can produce a specific desired quantity of output. It is the locus of all the technically efficient combinations of inputs which yield a given amount of output. It shows firm’s flexibility when making production decisions.
- 5. Isoquant Map Isoquant or Iso-product map is the set of Isoquants family. Qk O III = 150 units II = 100 units I = 50 units QL The further away the Isoquant from the origin the higher will be the level of output
- 6. Isoquant The Isoquant I shows 50 units of output that can be produced by many different combinations of labor and capital. The producer is indifferent between these combinations of labor and capital as he will be on the same level of output no matter whatever the combination of capital and labor. The Isoquant II shows 100 units of output The Isoquant III shows 150 units of output
- 7. Features of Isoquant The Isoquants are always downward sloping meaning that if a firm wants to use more of labor then it must use less of capital to produce the same level of output or to remain on the same Isoquant. The isoquants never intersect each other. The Isoquants are convex to the origin due to diminishing Marginal Rate of Technical Substitution (MRTS)
- 8. What is MRTS? The slope of an isoquant is called MRTS of labor for capital. The slope measures the degree of substitutability of the factors or in other words it means that within limits, labor and capital can be substituted for each other. MRTS is defined as the amount of capital that the firm is willing to give up in exchange for labor, so that output level remains constant.
- 9. Diminishing MRTS The slope of an Isoquant decreases as we move down along an Isoquant showing increasing difficulty in replacing capital for labor as they are imperfect substitutes.. QK ΔY1/ ΔX1 > ΔY2 / ΔX2 > ………. > ΔYn/ ΔXn ΔY1 ΔX1 ΔY2 ΔX2 O QL
- 10. Two Special Cases of Production Functions Perfect Substitutes : In case when labor and capital are perfect substitutes, MRTS is constant and the isoquants are straight lines. It means the rate at which capital and labor can be substituted for each other is same no matter whatever the level of inputs are being used.
- 11. Two Special Cases of Production Functions : Perfect Substitutes Capital per month A B C q1 q2 O q3 Labor per month Points A,B and c are three different capital-labor combinations that generate the same output q3.
- 12. Two Special Cases of Production Functions Perfect Complements : When the isoquants are L-shaped, only one combination of labor and capital can be used to produce a given output. Additional output cannot be obtained unless more capital and labor are added in specific proportions. Adding more capital alone or labor alone does not increase output. This implies that the methods of production are limited. In this case the production function will be of fixed proportions.
- 13. Two Special Cases of Production Functions : Perfect Complements Capital per month C q3 B A q2 q1 O Labor per month Points A,B and C are three different capital-labor combinations at fixed proportion to increase the level of output.
- 14. Isocost Lines Isocost line is a line that shows the different possible combinations of two inputs, which a producer can buy that yields him the same cost irrespective of the combination he chooses given his budget and the prices of factor inputs. Anywhere on the isocost line a producer is spending his entire budget either on capital or on labor or the combination of both.
- 15. Isocost Lines Say labor costs $5 per unit and machinery costs $3 per unit and that the firm has chosen to spend $30.Then Isocost line will be as follows:machinery 10 4 0 2 4 6 labor
- 16. Shifts in Isocost Lines With a change in the spending of the firm. If the spending increases then Isocost line will shift as follows:machinery 10 4 0 2 4 6 labor
- 17. Shifts in Isocost Lines With a change in the price of any of the factors. If the price of labor decreases then Isocost line will shift as follows:machinery 10 4 0 2 4 6 labor
- 18. Economic Efficiency Economic efficiency with least cost combination of factors will be attained when Isocost line is at tangency with a Isoquants. machinery 10 E III= 150 units II=100 units I=50 units 4 0 2 4 labor
- 19. Economic Efficiency and Expansion Path In the expansion path from the origin through points A, B and C shows the lowest cost combination of labor and capital that can be used to produce each level of output in the long run. Capital expansion path q3 q2 q1 O Labor
- 20. Economic Efficiency and Input Substitution when price changes With an increase in the price of labor, the isocost curve becomes steeper and the producer will substitute OK2 , OL2 combination of capital and labor instead of OK1, OL1 to produce the same level of output Capital K2 B A K1 q1 O L2 L1 Labor
- 21. Economic Efficiency and Input Substitution when expenditure changes With an increase in the expenditure of a firm, the isocost curve shifts to the right and the producer will substitute OK2 , OL2 combination of capital and labor instead of OK1, OL1 to produce the same level of output Capital K2 K1 q2 q1 O L 1 L2 Labor
- 22. Law of Returns The law of returns to scale states that when all factors of production are increased in same proportion, the output will increase but the increase may be at an increasing rate or constant rate or decreasing rate.
- 23. Three Aspects of Law of Returns to Scale Increasing Returns to Scale (IRS) Constant Returns to Scale (CRS) Decreasing Returns to Scale (DRS)
- 24. Increasing Returns to Scale Increasing Returns to Scale (IRS) When percentage increase in output is more to that of the percentage increase in input – Increasing Returns to Scale operates.
- 25. Increasing Returns to Scale – Graphical Representation Capital 30 20 10 0 Labor The isoquants move closer together as inputs are increased along the line.
- 26. Constant Returns to Scale Constant Returns to Scale (CRS) When percentage increase in output is equal to that of the percentage increase in input – Constant Returns to Scale operates.
- 27. Constant Returns to Scale – Graphical Representation Capital 30 20 10 0 Labor The isoquants are equally spaced together as inputs are increased along the line.
- 28. Decreasing Returns to Scale Constant Returns to Scale (DRS) When percentage increase in output is less than that of the percentage increase in input – Decreasing Returns to Scale operates.
- 29. Decreasing Returns to Scale – Graphical Representation Capital 30 20 10 0 Labor The isoquants move further away as inputs are increased along the line.
- 30. NEXT

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