PrUn Economics: Returns to scale

Some of the discussion here will reference:

I’ve been doing some economics work lately and have started to see how PrUn’s economics compares to reality. One area that might warrant some discussion is “returns to scale”. Returns to scale are about what happens as the scale of production is increased. For example, a company might scale up and build a second refinery. The resulting question is if we double the inputs of production (consumables, materials and buildings) what happens to the quantity of the output? If we double the inputs and the outputs increase by more than double then we have increasing returns to scale (IRS). If the inputs double and outputs are less than half we see decreasing returns to scale (DRS). The situation that we see in PrUn is that when we double the inputs the outputs are always exactly doubled giving us constant returns to scale (CRN).

If you dig around on the internet you can find examples of economists trying to work out the Returns to scale for various industrial sectors:

Returns to scale in the US
Returns to scale of manufacturing sectors in China

I’m not trying to advocate for changes to the way things are in the game in this post. I’m just curious if anyone else has looked at this before?

If we did want to have some kind of variability between industries or buildings in terms of returns to scale could it be easily implemented within the existing system? Or is this type of thing too far from the current system to be easily possible? It seems like you could attach a scale value to an industry type, for example Agriculture, that would impact all of the buildings of that type and the production calculations in a fashion similar to how the production line condition works?


We have IRS, to a limit. Increasing the number of buildings increases the rate of expert accumulation. This is a meaningful effect; I have made build-out decisions based on getting experts faster.


Apologies if this has been proposed before, but one idea I have been thinking about lately that this topic reminds me of:

Buildings that provide a bonus to 1 industry.
Composting Center - +7% to agriculture
Assembly Lines - +7% to manufacturing
Etc etc
Each building would need it’s own balance between bonus, number of workers, and space used up

I never submitted it because this is basically what experts do, but this would accomplish what you’re after. For bases that are hyper-specific (like, 26FP bases on CR-740b…) you could really go all-in on an industry with a feature like this.

I do also see your point that having some kind of synergy bonus, something like a cumulative 1% for each other building of the same industry makes logical sense - however for balance reasons it would be an issue. The game probably needs more “catch up” style mechanisms rather than more of the “rich get richer” mechanisms (as much as I applaud the goal of realism, the game must still be fun and attract newer players)


Welcome to the forum. I don’t remember hearing that before, I think it is a great idea.

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Those building ideas are interesting for sure and would let people specialize more.

I was also thinking that there may be some industries that have decreasing returns to scale. Mining is often cited as an example in the real world. When you are mining at a large scale you are not able to always get the highest quality ore all of the time so you get decreasing returns as you scale.

I think that the current system can really only model a straight line on return and only a constant doubling line. There’s not really any way to do a curve without doing something similar to what depreciation does and look at the buildings in the production line as a whole…or maybe a new system that looks at the base as a whole.

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