Positive vs. Normative Economics: 4 Key Differences

What is the difference of positive and normative economics?

Normative and positive statements | Basic economics concepts | AP Macroeconomics | Khan Academy

Why is positive economics important?

Positive economics is crucial because it illustrates economic concepts with objective language. Positive economics is a tool that economists can use to better communicate situations to the public and spur economic change. Positive economics can be helpful for assessing current conditions because it uses factual data. The development of historical economics, or the economic study of past events, can also benefit from positive economics. Due to its testable, quantifiable format, positive economics can also be used by economic leaders to inform and influence decisions.

What is positive economics?

Positive economics is a school of economic thought that focuses on explaining financial and economic developments. It establishes causal links between human behavior and economic theory using objective data and historical facts. Written statements are used in positive economics to demonstrate relationships that are precise and measurable. Those who are interested in economics can evaluate optimistic economic statements using historical examples and concrete examples. People who make optimistic economic claims occasionally support them with behavioral or societal economics.

Heres an example of a positive economic statement:

Government-funded school systems increase private spending in families.

In this case, studies pertaining to educational systems and personal spending can be used by economists to support or refute the statement. Positive economic statements can help clarify pertinent economic terms and their effects because they evaluate current economic conditions and societal norms.

What is normative economics?

Normative economics is a school of economic thought that emphasizes ideological economic circumstances. By stating what should or shouldn’t occur, normative economics aims to summarize a person’s desire for or lack thereof for a given economic situation. Regarding a financial situation or goal, this type of economics makes value judgments or judgments based on personal opinions. To make claims about potential economic developments, scenarios, or investment outcomes, normative economics uses opinion-based reasoning and individual perspectives. These assertions may be the result of personal opinions, sentiments, or political inclinations.

Heres an example of a normative economic statement:

The government should provide free schooling for all residents.

This statement is a normative economic statement because it summarises an opinion. Depending on who is making the statement, normative economic statements like this may appear to be biased toward particular political or philosophical viewpoints.

Why is normative economics important?

Because it can determine peoples’ preferences for various economic situations, normative economics is crucial. It enables those in power to better comprehend the economic preferences of others and how the public might respond to their decisions. When gathering opinions through surveys, written work, and public feedback, this type of economics can be useful. Because they draw on behavioral economics, normative economic statements are also helpful for studying psychological and societal economics. Additionally, by describing fundamental economic issues and making clear illustrations of their points, these statements can influence financial decisions and increase public awareness of economic issues.

Positive vs. normative economics

Positive and normative economics differ in the following areas:


Normative economics makes statements based on opinions that frequently have one focus rather than several. These economic statements frequently make judgments or express opinions in a single sentence without providing any background information or justification. Normative economics statements typically show a cause and effect and employ authoritative language such as:

Positive economics, on the other hand, employs objective statements with multiple focuses and complex sentence structures. Positive economics statements typically describe current or past events in the past or present tense. Additionally, these statements may give context for facts if needed. Multiple sentences may make up a positive economic statement, and objective language like:


Normative economics describes circumstances to illustrate assessments and opinions. It frequently employs authoritative language when providing answers to pressing economic issues. However, not all normative economic statements address problems; some may only serve to support an assertion or illustrate a point. By expressing support for an appropriate current action or decision, normative economics can advance an economic value, as in the case of the normative economic statement, Government-funded healthcare benefits small communities.

Positive economics, in contrast, clarifies and presents historical data by describing facts. People may use optimistic economic statements as support for their views on the economy because they are unbiased. Although it doesn’t necessarily support a particular bias, positive economics can also exist in opinion- or value-based contexts. Additionally, economists establish multiple standards for cause-and-effect relationships in economic theory using positive economics. Positive economics can also assist in the advancement of historical economic theory and behavioral economic theory.


While normative economics is rarely used by economists to study specific areas of finance, they can use it to assess public opinion. Normative economic statements can aid historical economists in assessing and documenting changes in societal and individual economic views over time. Economists can also compare these opinions to future economic events.

Positive economics, however, can aid economists in studying various aspects of economic events. Since conclusions from positive economics are based on objective statements, economists can use them to study behavioral, societal, and historical economics as financial events take place, both in favorable and unfavorable circumstances. Positive economic statements are based on facts, so understanding them can assist those in leadership positions in making crucial economic decisions.


Normative economics can show community wants, which can be useful for policymakers when developing business or governmental plans to meet citizens’ needs. Furthermore, business owners may use normative economics to make choices that better serve customers, capture their interest, and keep it.

On the other hand, some policymakers and government representatives may use positive economics to objectively assess history in order to determine their subsequent courses of action. Positive economics can assist government officials in understanding the recent effects of their decisions and how those decisions can help others in the future, even though some government officials may use a combination of normative and positive economics.


What is the difference between positive and normative economics quizlet?

2 Positive & normative economic statements. Positive claims are those about economics that can be supported by evidence as either true or false. Given that they involve value judgments, normative statements cannot be supported or refuted. e. Opinions, about how economies and markets should work.

What is the difference between positive and normative science?

Positive science is subject to subjectivity and only describes facts, whereas normative science is based on opinion. Consequently, the study of microeconomics focuses on how individuals and small-scale businesses make decisions.

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