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Normative Economics


Normative economics refers to an economic perspective that involves value judgments and subjective viewpoints about economic fairness or what the economy should be like. It is often contrasted with positive economics, which is purely based on facts and cause-effect relationships. Normative economics focuses on which economic policies should be implemented, discussing notions like fairness and social welfare.


The phonetics for the keyword “Normative Economics” is – “Nawr-muh-tiv Ih-kaw-naw-miks”.

Key Takeaways

Normative economics is a perspective on the economic landscape that reflects the opinions of the individual doing the analysis. Here are the three main takeaways about it:

  1. Subjective Viewpoint: One of the key characteristics of normative economics is that it’s based on subjective viewpoints. It incorporates personal beliefs, judgments, and value systems in the analysis of economic situations, and therefore, its propositions are inherently subjective and vary from person to person.
  2. Normative Statements: Unlike positive economics, which deals with objective facts and data, normative economics frames its hypothesis as normative statements. These statements express value judgments about whether situations are desirable or undesirable and often use terms such as “should” , “ought to” , and “must”.
  3. Policy Formulation: Normative economics plays a significant role in policy formulation. Economists use normative analysis to recommend specific actions and to assess outcomes as good or bad. It is crucial in economics because it helps determine what economic behavior is ideal or what policy should be implemented to achieve a specific goal.


Normative Economics is important in the field of business/finance as it provides a framework for discussing and making decisions about financial and economic policies. Unlike positive economics, which focuses on explaining things as they are, normative economics deals with how things should be according to particular judgments and values. It provides the guidelines to shape economic policies based on certain objectives, be it sustainability, social equity, or wealth equality. As such, normative economics is inherently subjective and relevant for any society’s policy direction. By considering the ethical implications, it helps in the decision-making process regarding the allocation of resources, governmental intervention, and standard-setting, giving us a direction on how to improve societal welfare.


Normative Economics plays a crucial role in guiding economic policies and decision-making, as it deals not with what is, but with what ought to be. By expressing value judgments about economic fairness or what the outcome of the economy or goals of public policy should be, it offers a compass to navigate multiple economic alternatives. It promotes discussions and debates about objectives and outcomes, ensuring that unexamined or implicit biases do not distort policy analysis. Predominantly, its purpose is to recommend or prescribe actions and behaviors that bring about the most ethical or morally upstanding outcomes.In many ways, Normative Economics is used as a tool to call for policy changes or advocate for reforms. For instance, if an economist asserts that the government needs to assist the financially vulnerable by implementing certain welfare programs, that’s a normative statement. Additionally, bringing the concept of sustainability into economics, with an emphasis on what should be done to ensure future generations are not disadvantaged, is another vital application of Normative Economics. Therefore, the core usage of this branch of economics lies in its function as a critical performance assesser and a guide for better decision-making, based on what outcomes are desirable or morally justified.


Normative economics, by definition, is a part of economics that expresses value or normative judgments about economic fairness or what the economy ought to be. Here are three real world examples:1. Minimum Wage Policy: A common example of normative economics is the debate around minimum wage laws. Supporters of a higher minimum wage often argue that wages ought to provide a living income for a person or family, thus suggesting an increase in minimum wage. This is normative because it involves a value judgment about what should be the case.2. Taxation: The argument for progressive taxation, where wealthier individuals are taxed at a higher rate than lower-income citizens, is an example of normative economics. This represents a value judgement that wealthier individuals ought to bear a higher tax burden because they have greater ability to pay.3. Government Spending: The debate over how much a government should spend on programs like education, healthcare or defense involves normative economic principles. Some people feel that more money ought to be spent on education to better future generations while some feel that less money needs to be spent to avoid increasing governmental debt. In both cases, value judgments about what is important, and what should be prioritized, are at play.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Normative Economics?

Normative economics is a branch of economics that expresses value or normative judgments about economic fairness or what the economy ought to be like or what economic goals a society should aim for. This is often viewed in contrast to positive economics, which uses scientific methodology to study and explain economics.

How is Normative Economics different from Positive Economics?

While positive economics is based on facts and data, normative economics is based on values or judgments. Positive economics explains what is, whereas normative economics discusses what ought to be.

What is an example of Normative Economic theory?

An example might be the statement the government should provide basic healthcare to all citizens. This isn’t a fact-based statement, but rather a judgment-based statement that considers what ought to be done taking into account some desired outcomes like overall societal welfare.

Is Normative Economics subjective?

Yes, due to its nature, normative economics often involves a level of subjectivity, as it deals with judgments about what policies should be implemented or what economic outcomes should be achieved.

What kind of statements are considered Normative Economic statements?

Any statement that includes a value judgment or argues for a certain policy or outcome based on a set of values can be considered a normative economic statement. For instance, The government should reduce taxes on the poor is a normative statement.

What is the significance of Normative Economics in policy making?

Normative economics plays an essential role in economic policy making by providing a framework for discussing how resources should be allocated, what goals an economy should strive for, and what policies should be implemented for achieving those goals. It provides the moral and ethical compass guiding policy decisions.

Are Normative Economics statements testable?

No, normative economic statements cannot be tested or proven false because they are based on value judgments, not empirical evidence. They fall within the realm of individual or societal judgment and preference.

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