Definition

Situation in which production has shut down or is simply not working, or one in which cash is inactive (not invested). More generally, this term can apply to any asset that is not being put to productive use. Being idle is usually an undesirable situation, since there is an opportunity cost of not earning returns on the idle asset.

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

For the optimal allocation of resources, see Pareto efficiency.

Management consultant Joseph M. Juran suggested the principle and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population; Pareto developed the principle by observing that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.

It is a common rule of thumb in business; e.g., "80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients". Mathematically, the 80–20 rule is roughly followed by a power law distribution (also known as a Pareto distribution) for a particular set of parameters, and many natural phenomena have been shown empirically to exhibit such a distribution.

The Pareto principle is only tangentially related to Pareto efficiency. Pareto developed both concepts in the context of the distribution of income and wealth among the population.

Pareto’s Law:

Rule of thumb that 20% of a population earns 80% of its income.

While it is common to refer to Pareto as "80/20" rule, under the assumption that, in all situations, 20% of causes determine 80% of problems, this ratio is merely a convenient rule of thumb and is not nor should it be considered immutable law of nature.

It is a simple tool that can be used to help determine a particular outcome!

Pareto Efficiency:

Pareto efficiency, or Pareto optimality, is a state of allocation of resources in which it is impossible to make any one individual better off without making at least one individual worse off. The term is named after Vilfredo Pareto (1848–1923), an Italian economist who used the concept in his studies of economic efficiency and income distribution.[citation needed] The concept has applications in academic fields such as economics, engineering, and the life sciences.

Given an initial allocation of goods among a set of individuals, a change to a different allocation that makes at least one individual better off without making any other individual worse off is called a Pareto improvement. An allocation is defined as "Pareto efficient" or "Pareto optimal" when no further Pareto improvements can be made.

Pareto efficiency is a minimal notion of efficiency and does not necessarily result in a socially desirable distribution of resources: it makes no statement about equality, or the overall well-being of a society. The notion of Pareto efficiency can also be applied to the selection of alternatives in engineering and similar fields. Each option is first assessed under multiple criteria and then a subset of options is identified with the property that no other option can categorically outperform any of its members.

A production-possibility frontier is an example of a Pareto Efficient Frontier. The connected line of red points represents Pareto optimal choices of production. If economic allocation in any system is not Pareto efficient, there is potential for a Pareto improvement—an increase in Pareto efficiency: through reallocation, improvements can be made to at least one participant's well-being without reducing any other participant's well-being.

It is important to note, however, that a change from an inefficient allocation to an efficient one is not necessarily a Pareto improvement. Thus, in practice, ensuring that nobody is disadvantaged by a change aimed at achieving Pareto efficiency may require compensation of one or more parties. For instance, if a change in economic policy eliminates a monopoly and that market subsequently becomes competitive and more efficient, the monopolist will be made worse off. However, the loss to the monopolist will be more than offset by the gain in efficiency. This means the monopolist can be compensated for its loss while still leaving a net gain for others in the economy, a Pareto improvement.

In real-world practice, such compensations have unintended consequences. They can lead to incentive distortions over time as agents anticipate such compensations and change their actions accordingly. Under certain idealized conditions, it can be shown that a system of free markets will lead to a Pareto efficient outcome. This is called the first welfare theorem. It was first demonstrated mathematically by economists Kenneth Arrow and Gérard Debreu. However, the result only holds under the restrictive assumptions necessary for the proof.

Pareto Analysis:

Pareto analysis is a formal technique useful where many possible courses of action are competing for attention. In essence, the problem-solver estimates the benefit delivered by each action, then selects a number of the most effective actions that deliver a total benefit reasonably close to the maximal possible one.[citation needed]

Pareto analysis is a creative way of looking at causes of problems because it helps stimulate thinking and organize thoughts. However, it can be limited by its exclusion of possibly important problems which may be small initially, but which grow with time. It should be combined with other analytical tools such as failure mode and effects analysis and fault tree analysis for example.[citation needed]

This technique helps to identify the top portion of causes that need to be addressed to resolve the majority of problems.

Once the predominant causes are identified, then tools like the Ishikawa diagram or Fish-bone Analysis can be used to identify the root causes of the problems.

The application of the Pareto analysis in risk management allows management to focus on those risks that have the most impact on the project.

Steps to identify the important causes using 80/20 rule

1. Form an explicit table listing the causes and their frequency as a percentage.

2. Arrange the rows in the decreasing order of importance of the causes (i.e., the most important cause first)

3. Add a cumulative percentage column to the table

4. Plot with causes on x- and cumulative percentage on y-axis

5. Join the above points to form a curve

6. Plot (on the same graph) a bar graph with causes on x- and percent frequency on y-axis

7. Draw a line at 80% on y-axis parallel to x-axis. Then drop the line at the point of intersection with the curve on x-axis. This point on the x-axis separates the important causes (on the left) and trivial causes (on the right)

8. Explicitly review the chart to ensure that at least 80% of the causes are captured

Pareto Distribution:

The Pareto distribution, named after the Italian civil engineer, economist, and sociologist Vilfredo Pareto, is a power law probability distribution that is used in description of social, scientific, geophysical, actuarial, and many other types of observable phenomena.

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Pareto efficiency

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