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A Brief History of Production Functions

This paper gives an outline of evolution of the concept and econometrics of production function, which was one of the central apparatus of neo-classical economics. It shows how the famous Cobb-Douglas production function was indeed invented by von Thunen and Wicksell, how the CES production function was formulated, how the elasticity of substitution was made a variable and finally how Sato’s function incorporated biased technical changes. It covers almost all specifications proposed during 1950-1975, and further the LINEX production functions and incorporation of energy as an input. The paper in divided into (1) single product functions, (2) joint product functions, and (3) aggregate production functions. It also discusses the ‘capital controversy’ and its impacts.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 5254.

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Date of creation: 09 Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:5254
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  1. Hanoch, Giora, 1970. "Homotheticity in joint production," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 423-426, December.
  2. Vinod, H. D., 1976. "Canonical ridge and econometrics of joint production," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 147-166, May.
  3. Berndt, Ernst R & Wood, David O, 1979. "Engineering and Econometric Interpretations of Energy-Capital Complementarity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(3), pages 342-54, June.
  4. Salvadori, Neri & Steedman, Ian, 1988. "Joint Production Analysis in a Sraffian Framework," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 165-95, June.
  5. Shaikh, Anwar, 1974. "Laws of Production and Laws of Algebra: The Humbug Production Function," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(1), pages 115-20, February.
  6. Harcourt,G. C., 1972. "Some Cambridge Controversies in the Theory of Capital," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521096720, September.
  7. Vinod, Hrishikesh D, 1969. "Econometrics of Joint Production-A Reply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(4), pages 739-40, October.
  8. Mishra, SK, 2007. "Least squares estimation of joint production functions by the Differential Evolution method of global optimization," MPRA Paper 4813, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Harris, Donald J, 1973. "Capital, Distribution, and the Aggregate Production Function," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(1), pages 100-13, March.
  10. Reuben Gronau, 1976. "Leisure, Home Production and Work--The Theory of The Allocation of Time Revisited," NBER Working Papers 0137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Lloyd, Peter J, 1969. "Elementary Geometric/Arithmetic Series and Early Production Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(1), pages 21-34, Jan./Feb..
  12. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1978. "Economics among the Sciences," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 505, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  13. Revankar, Nagesh S, 1971. "A Class of Variable Elasticity of Substitution Production Functions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(1), pages 61-71, January.
  14. George J. Stigler, 1952. "The Ricardian Theory of Value and Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60, pages 187.
  15. Richard E. Just & David Zilberman & Eithan Hochman, 1983. "Estimation of Multicrop Production Functions," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 65(4), pages 770-780.
  16. Pollak, Robert A & Wachter, Michael L, 1975. "The Relevance of the Household Production Function and Its Implications for the Allocation of Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 255-77, April.
  17. Rao, Potluri, 1969. "A Note on Econometrics of Joint Production," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(4), pages 737-38, October.
  18. Graham, John W & Green, Carole A, 1984. "Estimating the Parameters of a Household Production Function with Joint Products," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(2), pages 277-82, May.
  19. Wibe, Soren A, 1984. "Engineering Production Functions: A Survey," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 51(204), pages 401-11, November.
  20. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
  21. 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.
  22. Mishra, SK, 2006. "A Note on Numerical Estimation of Sato’s Two-Level CES Production Function," MPRA Paper 1019, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 02 Dec 2006.
  23. Dhrymes, Phoebus J & Mitchell, B M, 1969. "Estimation of Joint Production Functions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(4), pages 732-36, October.
  24. Chizmar, John F & Zak, Thomas A, 1983. "Modeling Multiple Outputs in Educational Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 17-22, May.
  25. R. D. Banker & A. Charnes & W. W. Cooper, 1984. "Some Models for Estimating Technical and Scale Inefficiencies in Data Envelopment Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(9), pages 1078-1092, September.
  26. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2007:i:51:p:1-13 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Seiford, Lawrence M. & Thrall, Robert M., 1990. "Recent developments in DEA : The mathematical programming approach to frontier analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1-2), pages 7-38.
  28. Fare, Rolf, 1986. " On the Existence and Equivalence of Three Joint Production Functions," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(4), pages 669-74.
  29. Sato, Ryuzo, 1975. "The Most General Class of CES Functions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 43(5-6), pages 999-1003, Sept.-Nov.
  30. Kümmel, Reiner, 1982. "The impact of energy on industrial growth," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 189-203.
  31. K. Sato, 1967. "A Two-Level Constant-Elasticity-of-Substitution Production Function," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(2), pages 201-218.
  32. Avi J. Cohen, 2003. "Retrospectives: Whatever Happened to the Cambridge Capital Theory Controversies?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 199-214, Winter.
  33. 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.
  34. A. Cohen & G. Harcourt., 2009. "Whatever Happened to the Cambridge Capital Theory Controversies?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 8.
  35. Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Rhodes, E., 1978. "Measuring the efficiency of decision making units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 2(6), pages 429-444, November.
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