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The Origins of the von Thunen-Mill-Pareto-Wicksell-Cobb-Douglas Function

The Origins of the von Thunen-Mill-Pareto-Wicksell-Cobb-Douglas Function Correspondence may be addressed to P. J. Lloyd, Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia. I wish to acknowledge the helpful suggestions of my colleague, John Creedy, of the referees, and of the editors at HOPE. 1. In citing both originators of the Cobb-Douglas function and those who have noted their contributions, I have cited the earliest statements known to me. History of Political Economy 33:1 © 2001 by Duke University Press. This article repeats briefly in section 1 the claims that von Thünen discovered the so-called Cobb-Douglas function and that Mill implicitly used the function. It then asks in section 2 why this function has played such a seminal role in production and utility theory and why it has been discovered independently in production and utility theory by several authors. These are the important questions. The device used to answer these questions is a multiple characterization of the Cobb-Douglas function in terms of certain properties. Section 3 comments that other functions have been devised in a similar way by seeking functions with specified properties. 1. The Contributions of von Thünen and Mill Von Thünen’s important contribution to the marginal productivity theory of factor http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Political Economy Duke University Press

The Origins of the von Thunen-Mill-Pareto-Wicksell-Cobb-Douglas Function

History of Political Economy , Volume 33 (1) – Mar 1, 2001

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2001 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0018-2702
eISSN
1527-1919
DOI
10.1215/00182702-33-1-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Correspondence may be addressed to P. J. Lloyd, Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia. I wish to acknowledge the helpful suggestions of my colleague, John Creedy, of the referees, and of the editors at HOPE. 1. In citing both originators of the Cobb-Douglas function and those who have noted their contributions, I have cited the earliest statements known to me. History of Political Economy 33:1 © 2001 by Duke University Press. This article repeats briefly in section 1 the claims that von Thünen discovered the so-called Cobb-Douglas function and that Mill implicitly used the function. It then asks in section 2 why this function has played such a seminal role in production and utility theory and why it has been discovered independently in production and utility theory by several authors. These are the important questions. The device used to answer these questions is a multiple characterization of the Cobb-Douglas function in terms of certain properties. Section 3 comments that other functions have been devised in a similar way by seeking functions with specified properties. 1. The Contributions of von Thünen and Mill Von Thünen’s important contribution to the marginal productivity theory of factor

Journal

History of Political EconomyDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2001

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