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diminishing returns

any rate of profit, production, benefits, etc., that beyond a certain point fails to increase proportionately with added investment, effort, or skill.
Also called law of diminishing returns. Economics. the fact, often stated as a law or principle, that when any factor of production, as labor, is increased while other factors, as capital and land, are held constant in amount, the output per unit of the variable factor will eventually diminish.
Origin of diminishing returns
1805-15 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for diminishing returns
  • Sure, more education means better employment than less education, but the law of diminishing returns applies.
  • With these and other issues on its mind, the movie sometimes loses its focus to the point of diminishing returns.
  • Once the basics are met, plus a certain amount of discretionary resources, you reach a point of diminishing returns.
  • Brain size, for instance, helps up to a point but carries diminishing returns: brains become energy-hungry and slow.
  • The problem with trying to split this hair even finer is, there is a point of diminishing returns.
  • One does not want such a grave charge as that to be degraded by propaganda to the point where it meets diminishing returns.
  • As solar panel manufacturers try to harvest more of the sun's energy for less, they face increasingly diminishing returns.
  • You're forgetting about the law of diminishing returns more or less.
  • It leads for example in economics to the formulation of the law of diminishing returns.
  • But capital and labour each face diminishing returns, so at a certain point adding more does not result in more growth.
British Dictionary definitions for diminishing returns

diminishing returns

plural noun (economics)
progressively smaller rises in output resulting from the increased application of a variable input, such as labour, to a fixed quantity, as of capital or land
the increase in the average cost of production that may arise beyond a certain point as a result of increasing the overall scale of production
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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