This article will help you to learn about the difference between Isoquants and Indifference Curves.

Difference between Isoquants and Indifference Curves

An isoquant is analogous to an indifference curve in more than one way. In it, two factors (capital and labour) replace two commodities of consumption. An isoquant shows equal level of product while an indifference curve shows equal level of satisfaction at all points.

The properties of isoquants, as we shall study below, are exactly similar to those of indifference curves. However, there are certain differences between isoquants and indifference curves.

Firstly, an indifference curve represents satisfaction which cannot be measured in physical units. In the case of an isoquant the product can be measured in physical units.


Secondly, on an indifference map one can only say that a higher indifference curve gives more satisfaction than a lower one, but it cannot be said how much more or less satisfaction is being derived from one indifference curve as compared to the other, whereas one can easily tell by how much output is greater on a higher isoquant in comparison with a lower isoquant.

In Figure 1 output on the curve 1Q1 is double, and on the IQ2 treble than on the curve IQ. Lastly, since satisfaction on indifference curves cannot be measured in physical units, they are given arbitrary numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. The isoquants have an added advantage over the former because they can be labelled in physical units, as 100, 200, 300, etc. in Figure 1, to indicate the output level to which each curve corresponds. Units of Labour and Capital