"THE MOST UBIQUITOUS FORM IN ECONOMICS"

COBB, C.W. (+) P.H. DOUGLAS.

A Theory of Production.

Washington, American Economic Association, 1928. Royal8vo. Bound in half cloth with marbled boards and gilt lettering to spine. In :"The American Economic Review, Supplement, March". Bound with June issue. Paper label to lower part of spine, otherwise a very fine and clean copy. Pp: 139-165. [Entire volume: (4),304, (6), 138 pp.].


First printing of this landmark paper in which the Dobb-Douglas function was presented for the first time. Today it is regarded as being one of the most influential economic functions: "The Cobb-Douglas function is perhaps the most ubiquitous form in economics" (The New Palgrave). The paper is one of the most important ever to be published in The American Economic Review.
The function is widely used to represent the relationship of an output to inputs and can be used in virtually all branches of economics.

"A major criticism at the time was that estimates of the production function, although seemingly accurate, were based on such sparse data that it was hard to give them much credibility. Douglas remarked "I must admit I was discouraged by this criticism and thought of giving up the effort, but there was something which told me I should hold on." The breakthrough came in using US census data, which was cross-sectional and provided a large number of observations. Two decades later, his production function was widely used, being adopted by economists such as Paul Samuelson and Solow. The Cobb-Douglas production function is especially notable for being the first time an aggregate or economy-wide production function had been developed, estimated, and the presented to the profession for analysis; it marked a landmark change in how economists approached macroeconomics." (Filipe, The Estimation of the Cobb Douglas Function).

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