A function is called strictly concave if
for any and .
For a function , this second definition merely states that for every strictly between and , the point on the graph of is above the straight line joining the points and .
A function is quasiconcave if the upper contour sets of the function are convex sets.:496
Functions of a single variable
1. A differentiable function f is (strictly) concave on an interval if and only if its derivative function f ′ is (strictly) monotonically decreasing on that interval, that is, a concave function has a non-increasing (decreasing) slope.
3. If f is twice-differentiable, then f is concave if and only if f ′′ is non-positive (or, informally, if the "acceleration" is non-positive). If its second derivative is negative then it is strictly concave, but the opposite is not true, as shown by f(x) = −x4.
4. If f is concave and differentiable, then it is bounded above by its first-order Taylor approximation::489
6. If a function f is concave, and f(0) ≥ 0, then f is subadditive on . Proof:
- Since f is concave and 1 ≥ t ≥ 0, letting y = 0 we have
- For :
Functions of n variables
2. The sum of two concave functions is itself concave and so is the pointwise minimum of two concave functions, i.e. the set of concave functions on a given domain form a semifield.
3. Near a local maximum in the interior of the domain of a function, the function must be concave; as a partial converse, if the derivative of a strictly concave function is zero at some point, then that point is a local maximum.
- The functions and are concave on their domains, as their second derivatives and are always negative.
- The logarithm function is concave on its domain , as its derivative is a strictly decreasing function.
- Any affine function is both concave and convex, but neither strictly-concave nor strictly-convex.
- The sine function is concave on the interval .
- The function , where is the determinant of a nonnegative-definite matrix B, is concave.
- Rays bending in the computation of radiowave attenuation in the atmosphere involve concave functions.
- In expected utility theory for choice under uncertainty, cardinal utility functions of risk averse decision makers are concave.
- In microeconomic theory, production functions are usually assumed to be concave over some or all of their domains, resulting in diminishing returns to input factors.
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