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The Cobb-Gouglas function as an approximation of other functions

By defining the Variable Output Elasticities Cobb-Douglas function, this article shows that a large class of production functions can be approximated by a Cobb-Douglas function with nonconstant output elasticity. Compared to standard flexible functions such as the Translog function, this framework has several advantages. It requires only the use of the first order approximation while respecting the theoretical curvature conditions of the isoquants. This greatly facilitates the deduction of linear input demands function without the need of involving the duality theorem. Moreover, it allows for a generalization of the CES function to the case where the elasticity of substitution between each pair of inputs is not necessarily the same.

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File URL: http://www.ofce.sciences-po.fr/pdf/dtravail/WP2011-21.pdf
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Paper provided by Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE) in its series Documents de Travail de l'OFCE with number 2011-21.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fce:doctra:1121
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  1. Diewert, Walter E & Wales, Terence J, 1987. "Flexible Functional Forms and Global Curvature Conditions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 43-68, January.
  2. Blackorby, Charles & Russell, R Robert, 1989. "Will the Real Elasticity of Substitution Please Stand Up? (A Comparison of the Allen/Uzawa and Morishima Elasticities)," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 882-88, September.
  3. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  4. Dale W. Jorgenson, 1998. "Growth, Volume 1: Econometric General Equilibrium Modeling," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262100738, June.
  5. S K Mishra, 2010. "A Brief History of Production Functions," The IUP Journal of Managerial Economics, IUP Publications, vol. 0(4), pages 6-34, November.
  6. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro, 1987. "Monopolistic Competition and the Effects of Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 647-66, September.
  7. Perroni, Carlo & Rutherford, Thomas F., 1995. "Regular flexibility of nested CES functions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 335-343, February.
  8. Samuelson, Paul A, 1979. "Paul Douglas's Measurement of Production Functions and Marginal Productivities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 923-39, October.
  9. Jesus Felipe & F. Gerard Adams, 2005. ""A Theory of Production" The Estimation of the Cobb-Douglas Function: A Retrospective View," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 427-445, Summer.
  10. Christensen, Laurits R & Jorgenson, Dale W & Lau, Lawrence J, 1973. "Transcendental Logarithmic Production Frontiers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 55(1), pages 28-45, February.
  11. Matthieu Lemoine & Gian Luigi Mazzi & Paola Monperrus-Veroni & Frédéric Reynes, 2010. "A new production function estimate of the euro area output gap This paper is based on a report for Eurostat: 'Real time estimation of potential output, output gap, NAIRU and Phillips curve for Euro-zo," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1-2), pages 29-53.
  12. Diewert, W E, 1971. "An Application of the Shephard Duality Theorem: A Generalized Leontief Production Function," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(3), pages 481-507, May-June.
  13. Frédéric Reynes & Yasser Yeddir-Tamsamani & Gaël Callonec, 2011. "Presentation of the Three-ME model: Multi-sector Macroeconomic Model for the Evaluation of Environmental and Energy policy," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2011-10, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  14. Grant, James H., 1993. "The translog approximate function : Substitution among inputs in manufacturing evaluated at sample means," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 235-240.
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