Units of X Employed
Units of X Employed discrete production function
Production function with distinct input patterns continuous production function
Production function where inputs can be varied in a unbroken marginal fashion
Y can be combined to produce 49 units of output; five units of X coupled with five units of Y results in 92 units of output; four units of X and 10 units of Y produce 101 units of Q, and so on. The units of input could represent hours of labor, dollars of capital, cubic feet of natural gas, tons of raw materials, and so on. Units of Q could be numbers of television sets or baseball gloves, cases of cereal, patient days of hospital care, customer transactions at an ATM banking facility, and so on.
The discrete production function described in Table 7.1 involves distinct, or "lumpy," patterns for input combination, as illustrated in Figure 7.1. The height of the bars associated with each input combination indicates the output produced. The tops of the output bars map the production surface for the system.
The discrete production data shown in Table 7.1 and Figure 7.1 can be generalized by assuming that the underlying production function is continuous. A continuous production function is one in which inputs can be varied in an unbroken fashion rather than incrementally, as in the preceding example.
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