Isoquants

An isoquants is a curve on which the various combinations of labor and capital show the same output. “An is product curve is a curve along which the maximum achievable rate of production is constant.” It is also known as a production indifference curve or a constant production curve Just as an indifference curve shows the various combinations of any two commodities that give the consumer the same amount of satisfaction (iso-utility), similarly an isoquant indicates the carious combinations of two factors of production which give the producer the same level of output per unit of time. The Table below shows a hypothetical isquant schedule of a firm producing 100 units of a good.

Isoquant Schedule

Combination Capital Input Labor Input Total Output (In units)
First 9 5 100
Second 6 10 100
Third 6 15 100
Fourth 3 20 100

This table is illustrated on the figure where labor units are measured along the X-axis and capital units on the Y-axis. The first, second, third and the fourth combinations are shown as A., B., C and D respectively. Connect all these points and we have a curve IQ. This is an isoquant. The firms can produces 100 units of output of point A on this curve by having a combination of 9 units of capital and 5 units of labor. Similarly point B shows a combination of 6 units of capital and 10 units of labor; point C, 4 units of capital + 15 units of labor and point D, a combination of 3 units of capital+ 20 units of labor to yield the same output of 100 units. A number of isoquants representing different amounts of output are known as an isoquant map. In the figure curves IQ, IQ1′ IQ2 show an isoquant map. Starting from curve IQ which yields 100 units of product, the curve IQ1 shows 200 units and the Iq2 curve 300 units of the product which can be produced with altogether different combinations of the two factors.

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