What are the key points in a short-run production function that delineate the three stages of production? Explain the relationship between the law of diminishing returns and the three stages of production.
The three stages of production are characterized by the slopes, shapes, and interrelationships of the total, marginal, and average product curves. The first stage is characterized by a positive slope of the average product curve, ending at the intersection between the average product and marginal product curves; the second stage by continues up to the point in which the marginal product becomes negative, at the peak of the total product curve; and the third stage exists over the range of in which the total product curve is negatively sloped. In Stage I, average product is positive and increasing. In Stage II, marginal product is positive, but decreasing. And in Stage III, total product is decreasing.