diminishing returns, law of

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diminishing returns, law of,

in economics, law stating that if one factor of production is increased while the others remain constant, the overall returns will relatively decrease after a certain point. Thus, for example, if more and more laborers are added to harvest a wheat field, at some point each additional laborer will add relatively less output than his predecessor did, simply because he has less and less of the fixed amount of land to work with. The principle, first thought to apply only to agriculture, was later accepted as an economic law underlying all productive enterprise. The point at which the law begins to operate is difficult to ascertain, as it varies with improved production technique and other factors. Anticipated by Anne Robert Jacques Turgot and implied by Thomas Malthus in his Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), the law first came under examination during the discussions in England on free trade and the corn laws. It is also called the law of decreasing returns and the law of variable proportions.

Bibliography

See W. J. Spillman and E. Lang, The Law of Diminishing Returns (1924).

References in periodicals archive ?
As Eltis (2000) illustrates, Ricardo believed that in an expanding economy, it would be necessary for workers to receive rising money wages to offset the impact of diminishing returns in agriculture.
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He added that the herd retirement program "has reached a point of diminishing returns," where there were a declining number of member farms that were expecting to use CWT as a means to liquidate their herds.
A related school of thought suggests that knowledge spillovers facilitate growth through innovation despite diminishing returns to the two traditional economic inputs of capital and labour (Romer, 1986; Lucas, 1988; Aghion and Howitt, 1997).
If your training on the treadmill is always eight miles per hour for 45 minutes then you are going to see diminishing returns very quickly," he said.
The next three times met with diminishing returns though, and "it's the way I tell 'em" only got rolled out a disappointing once - 20 minutes into the 50-minute show.
I HOPE the team behind Racing for Change will have the law of diminishing returns in mind when they consider their plans for Saturdays.
They have diminishing returns, especially in this economy.
Consider the law of diminishing returns in cinema, where sequels that improve on the original are famously limited to The Godfather Part II, Aliens and Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo.
Completely standard stuff from the third instalment in the Mummy series, proving the law of diminishing returns effects even the undead.
to the importance being aware of one's own alertness cycle and the point of mental diminishing returns, harnessing the #1 study skill of the ability to focus, and more, Study Smarter, Not Harder absolutely lives up to its title.
A CASE of diminishing returns but still an impressive back catalogue for Shirley Manson.