THEORY OF PRODUCTION - TOTAL FACTOR PRODUCTIVITY: NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH



In economics, an effort to explain the principles by which a business firm decides how much of each commodity that it sells (its "outputs" or "products") it will produce, and how much of each kind of labour, raw material, fixed capital good, etc., that it employs (its "inputs" or "factors of production") it will use. The theory involves some of the most fundamental principles of economics. These include the relationship between the prices of commodities and the prices (or wages or rents) of the productive factors used to produce them and also the relationships between the prices of commodities and productive factors, on the one hand, and the quantities of these commodities and productive factors that are produced or used, on the other.

Production theory is the study of production, or the economic process of converting inputs into outputs. Production uses resources to create a good or service that is suitable for use, gift-giving in a gift economy, or exchange in a market economy. This can include manufacturing, storing, shipping, and packaging. Some economists define production broadly as all economic activity other than consumption. They see every commercial activity other than the final purchase as some form of production.
Production is a process, and as such it occurs through time and space. Because it is a flow concept, production is measured as a “rate of output per period of time”. There are three aspects to production processes:
1.      the quantity of the good or service produced,
2.      the form of the good or service created,
3.      the temporal and spatial distribution of the good or service produced.
A production process can be defined as any activity that increases the similarity between the pattern of demand for goods and services, and the quantity, form, shape, size, length and distribution of these goods and services available to the market place.
Production is a process of combining various material inputs and immaterial inputs (plans, know-how) in order to make something for consumption (the output). It is the act of creating output, a good or service which has value and contributes to the utility of individuals.[1]
Economic well-being is created in a production process, meaning all economic activities that aim directly or indirectly to satisfy human needs. The degree to which the needs are satisfied is often accepted as a measure of economic well-being. In production there are two features which explain increasing economic well-being. They are improving quality-price-ratio of commodities and increasing incomes from growing and more efficient market production.
The most important forms of production are
  • market production
  • public production
  • household production
In order to understand the origin of the economic well-being we must understand these three production processes. All of them produce commodities which have value and contribute to well-being of individuals.
The satisfaction of needs originates from the use of the commodities which are produced. The need satisfaction increases when the quality-price-ratio of the commodities improves and more satisfaction is achieved at less cost. Improving the quality-price-ratio of commodities is to a producer an essential way to enhance the production performance but this kind of gains distributed to customers cannot be measured with production data.
Economic well-being also increases due to the growth of incomes that are gained from the growing and more efficient market production. Market production is the only one production form which creates and distributes incomes to stakeholders. Public production and household production are financed by the incomes generated in market production. Thus market production has a double role in creating well-being, i.e. the role of producing developing commodities and the role to creating income. Because of this double role market production is the “primus motor” of economic well-being and therefore here under review.
Production as a source of economic well-being
In 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 production
Stakeholders 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:

Interactive contributions of a company’s stakeholders Customers
  • Suppliers
  • Producers.
The interests of these stakeholders and their relations to companies are described briefly below. Our purpose is to establish a framework for further analysis.
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.
The inputs or resources used in the production process are called factors of production by economists. The inputs are usually grouped into four categories. These factors are:
  • Raw material
  • Labour services
  • Capital goods
  • Land
In the “long run”, all of these factors of production can be adjusted by management. The “short run”, however, is defined as a period in which at least one of the factors of production is fixed.
A fixed factor of production is one whose quantity cannot readily be changed. Examples include major pieces of equipment, suitable factory space, and key managerial personnel.
A variable factor of production is one whose usage rate can be changed easily. Examples include electrical power consumption, transportation services, and most raw material inputs. In the short run, a firm’s “scale of operations” determines the maximum number of outputs that can be produced. In the long run, there are no scale limitations.
Producer community
The incomes are generated for those participating in production, i.e., the labour force, society and owners. These stakeholders are referred to here as producer communities or, in shorter form, as producers. The producer communities have a common interest in maximizing their incomes. These parties that contribute to production receive increased incomes from the growing and developing 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.
Objective functions
An 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 objective function necessitates defining the variable to be maximized (or minimized). After that other variables are considered as constraints. The most familiar objective function is profit maximization which is also included in this case. Profit maximization is an objective function that stems from the owner’s interest and all other variables are constraints in relation to maximizing of profits.
The procedure for formulating objective functions
The 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 income statement starting with the income generation and ending with the income distribution. The income generation and the distribution are always in balance so that their amounts are equal. In this case it is 58.12 units. The income which has been generated in the real process is distributed to the stakeholders during the same period. There are three variables which can be maximized. They are the real income, the producer income and the owner income. Producer income and owner income are practical quantities because they are addable quantities and they can be computed quite easily. Real income is normally not an addable quantity and in many cases it is difficult to calculate.

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