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In mathematics, specifically in calculus and complex analysis, the **logarithmic derivative** of a function *f* is defined by the formula

where is the derivative of

When *f* is a function *f*(*x*) of a real variable *x*, and takes real, strictly positive values, this is equal to the derivative of ln(*f*), or the natural logarithm of *f*. This follows directly from the chain rule:^{[1]}

Many properties of the real logarithm also apply to the logarithmic derivative, even when the function does *not* take values in the positive reals. For example, since the logarithm of a product is the sum of the logarithms of the factors, we have

A corollary to this is that the logarithmic derivative of the reciprocal of a function is the negation of the logarithmic derivative of the function:

More generally, the logarithmic derivative of a quotient is the difference of the logarithmic derivatives of the dividend and the divisor:

Generalising in another direction, the logarithmic derivative of a power (with constant real exponent) is the product of the exponent and the logarithmic derivative of the base:

In summary, both derivatives and logarithms have a product rule, a reciprocal rule, a quotient rule, and a power rule (compare the list of logarithmic identities); each pair of rules is related through the logarithmic derivative.

Logarithmic derivatives can simplify the computation of derivatives requiring the product rule while producing the same result. The procedure is as follows: Suppose that and that we wish to compute . Instead of computing it directly as , we compute its logarithmic derivative. That is, we compute:

Multiplying through by ƒ computes *f*′:

This technique is most useful when ƒ is a product of a large number of factors. This technique makes it possible to compute *f*′ by computing the logarithmic derivative of each factor, summing, and multiplying by *f*.

For example, we can compute the logarithmic derivative of to be .

The logarithmic derivative idea is closely connected to the integrating factor method for first-order differential equations. In operator terms, write

In practice we are given an operator such as

The formula as given can be applied more widely; for example if *f*(*z*) is a meromorphic function, it makes sense at all complex values of *z* at which *f* has neither a zero nor a pole. Further, at a zero or a pole the logarithmic derivative behaves in a way that is easily analysed in terms of the particular case

with *n* an integer, *n* ≠ 0. The logarithmic derivative is then

In the field of Nevanlinna theory, an important lemma states that the proximity function of a logarithmic derivative is small with respect to the Nevanlinna characteristic of the original function, for instance .^{[4]}^{[verification needed]}

Behind the use of the logarithmic derivative lie two basic facts about *GL*_{1}, that is, the multiplicative group of real numbers or other field. The differential operator

- Exponential growth and exponential decay are processes with constant logarithmic derivative.
^{[citation needed]} - In mathematical finance, the Greek
*λ*is the logarithmic derivative of derivative price with respect to underlying price.^{[citation needed]} - In numerical analysis, the condition number is the infinitesimal relative change in the output for a relative change in the input, and is thus a ratio of logarithmic derivatives.
^{[citation needed]}

- Generalizations of the derivative – Fundamental construction of differential calculus
- Logarithmic differentiation – Method of mathematical differentiation
- Elasticity of a function

- ^
^{a}^{b}"Logarithmic derivative - Encyclopedia of Mathematics".*encyclopediaofmath.org*. 7 December 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2021. **^**Gonzalez, Mario (1991-09-24).*Classical Complex Analysis*. CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-8247-8415-7.**^**"Logarithmic residue - Encyclopedia of Mathematics".*encyclopediaofmath.org*. 7 June 2020. Retrieved 2021-08-12.**^**Zhang, Guan-hou (1993-01-01).*Theory of Entire and Meromorphic Functions: Deficient and Asymptotic Values and Singular Directions*. American Mathematical Soc. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-8218-8764-6. Retrieved 12 August 2021.