the law of diminishing returns


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the law of diminishing returns

1. In economics, the law that a yield rate (i.e., of profits, production, benefits, etc.) will eventually fail to grow in proportion to the amount of investment, skill, time, or effort that is added. The restaurant, to combat high volumes of customers, hired a large surplus of wait staff and cooks. The law of diminishing returns kicked in, however, as the overcrowded staff was far less efficient and eventually cost the restaurant more in wages than it was earning.
2. By extension, the idea that any output or results (e.g., of a product, project, organization, etc.) will eventually begin to fail increasing proportionally to additional time, money, skill, or effort. Unfortunately, the show's charm has not lasted, with increasingly zany plots and more characters than one can keep track of. That's just the law of diminishing returns, unfortunately. Schools feel like they have to pile on homework so students meet increasingly high targets for standardized tests, but then you rub up against the law of diminishing returns, because students can only handle so much work before they begin to burn out and perform poorly anyway.
See also: diminish, law, of, return

the law of diminishing returns

used to refer to the point at which the level of profits or benefits to be gained is reduced to less than the amount of money or energy invested.
This expression originated in the early 19th century with reference to the profits from agriculture.
See also: diminish, law, of, return
References in periodicals archive ?
While the law of diminishing returns influences all markets there are four levels of saturation within the maturity stage (see Chart 2).
After that, the energy begins to fade and the law of diminishing returns sets in.
Innovation matters so much because it affords the economy a way of escaping the law of diminishing returns that otherwise would inexorably reduce the punch from simply adding more capital or labor.
Boer shows how to recognize the signs of value destruction and use innovation to overcome the law of diminishing returns.
Others followed what he calls the law of diminishing returns.
Secondly, there is massive evidence that science is subjected to the law of diminishing returns, cast in the known rule "first dollars (read: smaller grants) are the most cost-effective.
Possible gains in both areas are limited by the law of diminishing returns.
Although the law of diminishing returns is hard at work here, there is no denying that this is a truly excellent cartridge for those who insist in the very best and have a budget that allows for shameless extravagance every once in a while.
This is because the belief exists at most companies that significant inefficiencies have been purged from their systems and that further economies should be subject to the Law of Diminishing Returns.
Although traditional cost accounting might support this view, there's also the law of diminishing returns.
With so many important votes coming up-including the shift to parliamentary government, whether or not it includes federalism-demanding obedience will invoke the law of diminishing returns.
The law of diminishing returns leads one to expect the return on each additional unit of capital to decline.
But the law of diminishing returns saw excitement tail off through Revenge of the Fallen (2009) and Dark of the Moon (2011).
The problem with this strategy is that these subsidies (and others which are not listed here) are fuelling ever higher London land and property prices, and taxpayer investment in infrastructure then becomes subject to the law of diminishing returns - for the taxpayer if not the property developer.