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

P.J. Lloyd

No 660, Department of Economics - Working Papers Series from The University of Melbourne

Abstract: This paper traces the discovery of the Cobb-Douglas function. There were four antecedents to Cobb and Douglas; von Thunen, Mill, Pareto and Wicksell. The demand functions specified by Mill and Pareto implied the Cobb-Douglas utility function and von Thunen and Wicksell stated the Cobb-Douglas production function explicitly. This paper comments on why this function has played a seminal role in production and utility theory and why it has been discovered independently by several authors.

Keywords: PRODUCTION FUNCTIONS; CONSUMPTION; UTILITY FUNCTION; MATHEMATICAL ANALYSIS (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C60 D24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1998
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