Elements of Production EconomicsThe underlying assumption of production is that maximisation of profit is the key objective of the producer. The difference in the value of the production values (the output value) and costs (associated with the factors of production) is the calculated profit. Efficiency, technological, pricing, behavioural, consumption and productivity changes are a few of the critical elements that significantly influence production economics.
EfficiencyWithin production, efficiency plays a tremendous role in achieving and maintaining full capacity, rather than producing an inefficient (not optimal) level. Changes in efficiency relate to the positive shift in current inputs, such as technological advancements, relative to the producer's position. Efficiency is calculated by the maximum potential output divided by the actual input. An example of the efficiency calculation is that if the applied inputs have the potential to produce 100 units but are producing 60 units, the efficiency of the output is 0.6, or 60%. Furthermore,
Technological changesThis element sees the ongoing adaption of technology at the frontier of the production function. Technological change is a significant determinant in advancing economic production results, as noted throughout economic histories, such as the industrial revolution. Therefore, it is critical to continue to monitor its effects on production and promote the development of new technologies.
Behaviour, consumption and productivityThere is a strong correlation between the producer's behaviour and the underlying assumption of production – both assume profit maximising behaviour. Production can be either increased, decreased or remain constant as a result of consumption, amongst various other factors. The relationship between production and consumption is mirror against the economic theory of
PricingIn an economic market, production input and output prices are assumed to be set from external factors as the producer is the price taker. Hence, pricing is an important element in the real-world application of production economics. Should the pricing be too high, the production of the product is simply unviable. There is also a strong link between pricing and consumption, with this influencing the overall production scale.
As a source of economic well-beingIn principle there are two main activities in an economy, production and consumption. Similarly, there are two kinds of actors, producers and consumers. Well-being is made possible by efficient production and by the interaction between producers and consumers. In the interaction, consumers can be identified in two roles both of which generate well-being. Consumers can be both customers of the producers and suppliers to the producers. The customers' well-being arises from the commodities they are buying and the suppliers' well-being is related to the income they receive as compensation for the production inputs they have delivered to the producers.
Stakeholders of productionStakeholders of production are persons, groups or organizations with an interest in a producing company. Economic well-being originates in efficient production and it is distributed through the interaction between the company's stakeholders. The stakeholders of companies are economic actors which have an economic interest in a company. Based on the similarities of their interests, stakeholders can be classified into three groups in order to differentiate their interests and mutual relations. The three groups are as follows: ''Customers'' The customers of a company are typically consumers, other market producers or producers in the public sector. Each of them has their individual production functions. Due to competition, the price-quality-ratios of commodities tend to improve and this brings the benefits of better productivity to customers. Customers get more for less. In households and the public sector this means that more need satisfaction is achieved at less cost. For this reason, the productivity of customers can increase over time even though their incomes remain unchanged. ''Suppliers'' The suppliers of companies are typically producers of materials, energy, capital, and services. They all have their individual production functions. The changes in prices or qualities of supplied commodities have an effect on both actors' (company and suppliers) production functions. We come to the conclusion that the production functions of the company and its suppliers are in a state of continuous change. ''Producers'' Those participating in production, i.e., the labour force, society and owners, are collectively referred to as the producer community or producers. The producer community generates income from developing and growing production. The well-being gained through commodities stems from the price-quality relations of the commodities. Due to competition and development in the market, the price-quality relations of commodities tend to improve over time. Typically the quality of a commodity goes up and the price goes down over time. This development favourably affects the production functions of customers. Customers get more for less. Consumer customers get more satisfaction at less cost. This type of well-being generation can only partially be calculated from the production data. The situation is presented in this study. The producer community (labour force, society, and owners) earns income as compensation for the inputs they have delivered to the production. When the production grows and becomes more efficient, the income tends to increase. In production this brings about an increased ability to pay salaries, taxes and profits. The growth of production and improved productivity generate additional income for the producing community. Similarly, the high income level achieved in the community is a result of the high volume of production and its good performance. This type of well-being generation – as mentioned earlier - can be reliably calculated from the production data.
Main processes of a producing companyA producing company can be divided into sub-processes in different ways; yet, the following five are identified as main processes, each with a logic, objectives, theory and key figures of its own. It is important to examine each of them individually, yet, as a part of the whole, in order to be able to measure and understand them. The main processes of a company are as follows: * real process. * income distribution process * production process. * monetary process. * market value process. Production output is created in the real process, gains of production are distributed in the income distribution process and these two processes constitute the production process. The production process and its sub-processes, the real process and income distribution process occur simultaneously, and only the production process is identifiable and measurable by the traditional
Production growth and performanceEconomic growth is often defined as a production increase of an output of a production process. It is usually expressed as a growth percentage depicting growth of the real production output. The real output is the real value of products produced in a production process and when we subtract the real input from the real output we get the real income. The real output and the real income are generated by the real process of production from the real inputs. The real process can be described by means of the production function. The production function is a graphical or mathematical expression showing the relationship between the inputs used in production and the output achieved. Both graphical and mathematical expressions are presented and demonstrated. The production function is a simple description of the mechanism of income generation in production process. It consists of two components. These components are a change in production input and a change in productivity. The figure illustrates an income generation process (exaggerated for clarity). The Value T2 (value at time 2) represents the growth in output from Value T1 (value at time 1). Each time of measurement has its own graph of the production function for that time (the straight lines). The output measured at time 2 is greater than the output measured at time one for both of the components of growth: an increase of inputs and an increase of productivity. The portion of growth caused by the increase in inputs is shown on line 1 and does not change the relation between inputs and outputs. The portion of growth caused by an increase in productivity is shown on line 2 with a steeper slope. So increased productivity represents greater output per unit of input. The growth of production output does not reveal anything about the performance of the production process. The performance of production measures production's ability to generate income. Because the income from production is generated in the real process, we call it the real income. Similarly, as the production function is an expression of the real process, we could also call it “income generated by the production function”. The real income generation follows the logic of the production function. Two components can also be distinguished in the income change: the income growth caused by an increase in production input (production volume) and the income growth caused by an increase in productivity. The income growth caused by increased production volume is determined by moving along the production function graph. The income growth corresponding to a shift of the production function is generated by the increase in productivity. The change of real income so signifies a move from the point 1 to the point 2 on the production function (above). When we want to maximize the production performance we have to maximize the income generated by the production function. The sources of productivity growth and production volume growth are explained as follows. Productivity growth is seen as the key economic indicator of innovation. The successful introduction of new products and new or altered processes, organization structures, systems, and business models generates growth of output that exceeds the growth of inputs. This results in growth in productivity or output per unit of input. Income growth can also take place without innovation through replication of established technologies. With only replication and without innovation, output will increase in proportion to inputs. (Jorgenson et al. 2014,2) This is the case of income growth through production volume growth. Jorgenson et al. (2014,2) give an empiric example. They show that the great preponderance of economic growth in the US since 1947 involves the replication of existing technologies through investment in equipment, structures, and software and expansion of the labor force. Further, they show that innovation accounts for only about twenty percent of US economic growth. In the case of a single production process (described above) the output is defined as an economic value of products and services produced in the process. When we want to examine an entity of many production processes we have to sum up the value-added created in the single processes. This is done in order to avoid the double accounting of intermediate inputs. Value-added is obtained by subtracting the intermediate inputs from the outputs. The most well-known and used measure of value-added is the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). It is widely used as a measure of the economic growth of nations and industries.
Absolute (total) and average incomeThe production performance can be measured as an average or an absolute income. Expressing performance both in average (avg.) and absolute (abs.) quantities is helpful for understanding the welfare effects of production. For measurement of the average production performance, we use the known productivity ratio * Real output / Real input. The absolute income of performance is obtained by subtracting the real input from the real output as follows: * Real income (abs.) = Real output – Real input The growth of the real income is the increase of the economic value that can be distributed between the production stakeholders. With the aid of the production model we can perform the average and absolute accounting in one calculation. Maximizing production performance requires using the absolute measure, i.e. the real income and its derivatives as a criterion of production performance. Maximizing productivity also leads to the phenomenon called " jobless growth" This refers to economic growth as a result of productivity growth but without creation of new jobs and new incomes from them. A practical example illustrates the case. When a jobless person obtains a job in market production we may assume it is a low productivity job. As a result, average productivity decreases but the real income per capita increases. Furthermore, the well-being of the society also grows. This example reveals the difficulty to interpret the total productivity change correctly. The combination of volume increase and total productivity decrease leads in this case to the improved performance because we are on the “diminishing returns” area of the production function. If we are on the part of “increasing returns” on the production function, the combination of production volume increase and total productivity increase leads to improved production performance. Unfortunately, we do not know in practice on which part of the production function we are. Therefore, a correct interpretation of a performance change is obtained only by measuring the real income change.
Production FunctionIn the short run, the production function assumes there is at least one fixed factor input. The production function relates the quantity of factor inputs used by a business to the amount of output that result. There are three measure of production and productivity. The first one is total output (total product). It is straightforward to measure how much output is being produced in the manufacturing industries like motor vehicles. In the tertiary industry such as service or knowledge industries, it is harder to measure the outputs since they are less tangible. The second way of measuring production and efficiency is average output. It measures output per-worker-employed or output-per-unit of capital. The third measures of production and efficiency is the marginal product. It is the change in output from increasing the number of workers used by one person, or by adding one more machine to the production process in the short run. The law of diminishing marginal returns points out that as more units of a variable input are added to fixed amounts of land and capital, the change in total output would rise firstly and then fall. The length of time required for all the factor of production to be flexible varies from industry to industry. For example, in the nuclear power industry, it takes many years to commission new nuclear power plant and capacity. Real-life examples of the firm's short - term production equations may not be quite the same as the smooth production theory of the department. In order to improve efficiency and promote the structural transformation of economic growth, it is most important to establish the industrial development model related to it. At the same time, a shift should be made to models that contain typical characteristics of the industry, such as specific technological changes and significant differences in the likelihood of substitution before and after investment.
Production modelsA production model is a numerical description of the production process and is based on the prices and the quantities of inputs and outputs. There are two main approaches to operationalize the concept of production function. We can use mathematical formulae, which are typically used in macroeconomics (in growth accounting) or arithmetical models, which are typically used in microeconomics and management accounting. We do not present the former approach here but refer to the survey “Growth accounting” by Hulten 2009. Also see an extensive discussion of various production models and their estimations in Sickles and Zelenyuk (2019, Chapter 1-2). We use here arithmetical models because they are like the models of management accounting, illustrative and easily understood and applied in practice. Furthermore, they are integrated to management accounting, which is a practical advantage. A major advantage of the arithmetical model is its capability to depict production function as a part of production process. Consequently, production function can be understood, measured, and examined as a part of production process. There are different production models according to different interests. Here we use a production income model and a production analysis model in order to demonstrate production function as a phenomenon and a measureable quantity.
Production income modelThe scale of success run by a going concern is manifold, and there are no criteria that might be universally applicable to success. Nevertheless, there is one criterion by which we can generalise the rate of success in production. This criterion is the ability to produce surplus value. As a criterion of profitability, surplus value refers to the difference between returns and costs, taking into consideration the costs of equity in addition to the costs included in the profit and loss statement as usual. Surplus value indicates that the output has more value than the sacrifice made for it, in other words, the output value is higher than the value (production costs) of the used inputs. If the surplus value is positive, the owner’s profit expectation has been surpassed. The table presents a surplus value calculation. We call this set of production data a basic example and we use the data through the article in illustrative production models. The basic example is a simplified profitability calculation used for illustration and modelling. Even as reduced, it comprises all phenomena of a real measuring situation and most importantly the change in the output-input mix between two periods. Hence, the basic example works as an illustrative “scale model” of production without any features of a real measuring situation being lost. In practice, there may be hundreds of products and inputs but the logic of measuring does not differ from that presented in the basic example. In this context, we define the quality requirements for the production data used in productivity accounting. The most important criterion of good measurement is the homogenous quality of the measurement object. If the object is not homogenous, then the measurement result may include changes in both quantity and quality but their respective shares will remain unclear. In productivity accounting this criterion requires that every item of output and input must appear in accounting as being homogenous. In other words, the inputs and the outputs are not allowed to be aggregated in measuring and accounting. If they are aggregated, they are no longer homogenous and hence the measurement results may be biased. Both the absolute and relative surplus value have been calculated in the example. Absolute value is the difference of the output and input values and the relative value is their relation, respectively. The surplus value calculation in the example is at a nominal price, calculated at the market price of each period.
Production analysis modelA model Courbois & Temple 1975, Gollop 1979, Kurosawa 1975, Saari 1976, 2006 used here is a typical production analysis model by help of which it is possible to calculate the outcome of the real process, income distribution process and production process. The starting point is a profitability calculation using surplus value as a criterion of profitability. The surplus value calculation is the only valid measure for understanding the connection between profitability and productivity or understanding the connection between real process and production process. A valid measurement of total productivity necessitates considering all production inputs, and the surplus value calculation is the only calculation to conform to the requirement. If we omit an input in productivity or income accounting, this means that the omitted input can be used unlimitedly in production without any cost impact on accounting results.
Accounting and interpretingThe process of calculating is best understood by applying the term ''ceteris paribus'', i.e. "all other things being the same," stating that at a time only the impact of one changing factor be introduced to the phenomenon being examined. Therefore, the calculation can be presented as a process advancing step by step. First, the impacts of the income distribution process are calculated, and then, the impacts of the real process on the profitability of the production. The first step of the calculation is to separate the impacts of the real process and the income distribution process, respectively, from the change in profitability (285.12 – 266.00 = 19.12). This takes place by simply creating one auxiliary column (4) in which a surplus value calculation is compiled using the quantities of Period 1 and the prices of Period 2. In the resulting profitability calculation, Columns 3 and 4 depict the impact of a change in income distribution process on the profitability and in Columns 4 and 7 the impact of a change in real process on the profitability. The accounting results are easily interpreted and understood. We see that the real income has increased by 58.12 units from which 41.12 units come from the increase of productivity growth and the rest 17.00 units come from the production volume growth. The total increase of real income (58.12) is distributed to the stakeholders of production, in this case, 39.00 units to the customers and to the suppliers of inputs and the rest 19.12 units to the owners. Here we can make an important conclusion. Income formation of production is always a balance between income generation and income distribution. The income change created in a real process (i.e. by production function) is always distributed to the stakeholders as economic values within the review period. Accordingly, the changes in real income and income distribution are always equal in terms of economic value. Based on the accounted changes of productivity and production volume values we can explicitly conclude on which part of the production function the production is. The rules of interpretations are the following: The production is on the part of “increasing returns” on the production function, when * productivity and production volume increase or * productivity and production volume decrease The production is on the part of “diminishing returns” on the production function, when * productivity decreases and volume increases or * productivity increases and volume decreases. In the basic example, the combination of volume growth (+17.00) and productivity growth (+41.12) reports explicitly that the production is on the part of “increasing returns” on the production function (Saari 2006 a, 138–144). Another production model
Objective functionsAn efficient way to improve the understanding of production performance is to formulate different objective functions according to the objectives of the different interest groups. Formulating the
The procedure for formulating objective functionsThe procedure for formulating different objective functions, in terms of the production model, is introduced next. In the income formation from production the following objective functions can be identified: * Maximizing the real income * Maximizing the producer income * Maximizing the owner income. These cases are illustrated using the numbers from the basic example. The following symbols are used in the presentation: The equal sign (=) signifies the starting point of the computation or the result of computing and the plus or minus sign (+ / -) signifies a variable that is to be added or subtracted from the function. A producer means here the producer community, i.e. labour force, society and owners. Objective function formulations can be expressed in a single calculation which concisely illustrates the logic of the income generation, the income distribution and the variables to be maximized. The calculation resembles an
The dual approach for the formulationHere we have to add that the change of real income can also be computed from the changes in income distribution. We have to identify the unit price changes of outputs and inputs and calculate their profit impacts (i.e. unit price change x quantity). The change of real income is the sum of these profit impacts and the change of owner income. This approach is called the dual approach because the framework is seen in terms of prices instead of quantities (ONS 3, 23). The dual approach has been recognized in growth accounting for long but its interpretation has remained unclear. The following question has remained unanswered: “Quantity based estimates of the residual are interpreted as a shift in the production function, but what is the interpretation of the price-based growth estimates?” (Hulten 2009, 18). We have demonstrated above that the real income change is achieved by quantitative changes in production and the income distribution change to the stakeholders is its dual. In this case, the duality means that the same accounting result is obtained by accounting the change of the total income generation (real income) and by accounting the change of the total income distribution.
See also* Adaptive strategies * A list of production functions *
References* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Sickles, R., and Zelenyuk, V. (2019). Measurement of Productivity and Efficiency: Theory and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://assets.cambridge.org/97811070/36161/frontmatter/9781107036161_frontmatter.pdf
Further references and external links*Moroney, J. R. (1967) Cobb-Douglass production functions and returns to scale in US manufacturing industry, ''Western Economic Journal'', vol 6, no 1, December 1967, pp 39–51. *Pearl, D. and Enos, J. (1975) Engineering production functions and technological progress, ''The Journal of Industrial Economics'', vol 24, September 1975, pp 55–72. *Robinson, J. (1953) The production function and the theory of capital, ''Review of Economic Studies'', vol XXI, 1953, pp. 81–106 * Anwar Shaikh, "Laws of Production and Laws of Algebra: The Humbug Production Function", in The Review of Economics and Statistics, Volume 56(1), February 1974, p. 115-120. https://web.archive.org/web/20050518113632/http://homepage.newschool.edu/~AShaikh/humbug.pdf * Anwar Shaikh, "Laws of Production and Laws of Algebra—Humbug II", in Growth, Profits and Property ed. by Edward J. Nell. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1980. https://web.archive.org/web/20050518112119/http://homepage.newschool.edu/~AShaikh/humbug2.pdf * Anwar Shaikh, "Nonlinear Dynamics and Pseudo-Production Functions", published?, 2008. https://web.archive.org/web/20120603132106/http://homepage.newschool.edu/~AShaikh/Nonlinear%20Dynamics%20and%20Pseudo-Production%20Functions.pdf *Shephard, R (1970) ''Theory of cost and production functions'', Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ. *Sickles, R., and Zelenyuk, V. (2019). Measurement of Productivity and Efficiency: Theory and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781139565981 https://assets.cambridge.org/97811070/36161/frontmatter/9781107036161_frontmatter.pdf *Thompson, A. (1981) ''Economics of the firm, Theory and practice'', 3rd edition, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs. *Elmer G. Wiens