Diminishing returns In farm experiments
The law of diminishing returns is of served in agriculture. As Farmer Telly adds more labor. the fields will be more thorough seeded and weeded, irrigation ditches ~ be neater, and scarecrows better oiled. At some point. Howe, the additional labor becomes less and less produce . The third hoeing of the field or the fourth coincide of the machinery adds little to out Put. Eventuality, output grows very little as more people crowd onto the firm; too many tillers spoil the crop.
Researchers often conduct experiments to mine the Impact of different combinations of input on out Put. Figure 6-2 on p. 112 shows the results of an ex. pediment in which different doses of phosphorus (P205) were applied on two different plots, holding constant land area, nitrogen fertilizer. labor. and other inputs. Rear wort expert me”ts are complicated by “random errors”~n this case, due primarily to differences in soils. You can see that diminishing returns set in quickly after about 100 pounds of phosphorus per acre. Indeed. beyond an Input Fifteen of around 300 pounds per a Cr, the Ingrain product of additional phosphate fertilizer is Neptune.
Diminishing returns are a key factor in explaining why many countries in Asia are so poor. Living standards in crowded India or Bangladesh are low because there are so many worken per acre of land
figure 6-2. J)jingling Purcell”M In Corn Pr production Agricultural researchers experimented “”the different daft of phosphorus fertilizer on two til(forfeit plots to ti mate the production function for corn in W!Ila!m loll\\,o\. In conducting the experiment, they wt’r~ careful to hold constant other Lhasas such a., nitrogen fertilizer; w<cropland labor inputs. Because of variate ions in soil, and microscopical, even the most careful secularist cannot !revere Mime random \’aria lion. which accounts for th<:jagged nature of the lines. If you fit a smooth curve to the ~ta, you \ rill’ see that the latecomer hip displays diminishing returns for every dose and that marginal product becomes negative for a phosphate input of around ~, (Source: Earl O.
Heady and not because tanners are ignorant or fail to respond to economic incentives. We can also me the example 01 studying to illustrate the law of diminishing returns. You might find that the first hour of studying’ economics 011 a given eta~’ is productive you learn new laws and facts. insightful and history. The second hour might Iinetyour attention wandering a bit, with less learned. The third hour might :how that diminishing returns have set in with a vengeance, and by the next day the third hour is a blank. in your memory. Does the law of diminishing returns suggest why the hours devoted to studying should be spread out rather than crammed into the day before exams?
The law of diminishing returns is a widely observed empirical regularity rather than a universal truth like the law of gravity. It has been found in numerous empirical studies. but exceptions have also been uncovered. Moreover, diminishing returns might not hold for all levels of production. The very first inputs of labor might actually show increasing marginal products, since a minimum amount of labor may be needed just to walk to the field and pick up a shovel. Notwithstanding these reservations, diminishing returns will prevail in most situations.
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