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Positive Economics


Positive Economics is a branch of economics that involves the description and explanation of economic phenomena. It focuses on facts and cause-and-effect behavioral relationships and includes the development and testing of economic theories. Essentially, it’s about addressing and explaining economic matters ‘as they are’ , unaffected by subjective viewpoints.


Positive Economics: /ˈpɒzɪtɪv ˌiːkəˈnɒmɪks/

Key Takeaways

  1. Objective Approach: Positive economics deals with objective explanations or the ‘what is’ scenarios of the economy. It involves a descriptive approach based on facts and actual data and does not involve any subjective judgments.
  2. Testability: The theories, hypotheses, or predictions derived from positive economics can be tested using scientific methods. Since it is based on facts, the statements can be proved or disproved through empirical evidence and facts.
  3. Ignores Value Judgments: Positive economics is entirely based on hard facts and empirical science. It strictly avoids making value judgments or incorporating subjective viewpoints about what should be done or what should happen. It mainly focuses on cause and effect relationships, rather than suggesting how things should be.


Positive economics is important because it focuses on the objective and fact-based aspects of economic behaviors and actions. It involves the analysis and interpretation of factual data to predict and describe economic outcomes. Unlike normative economics, which is subjective and discusses what should be, positive economics discusses what is currently occurring or what could occur due to economic changes. Its key importance lies in its ability to provide companies, policymakers, and economists with factual assessments and realistic forecasts that can be used to inform strategic planning and decision-making. Understanding positive economics helps to interpret economic trends, devise strategies, and make informed decisions that can contribute positively to economic growth and stability.


Positive economics, a critical branch of economics, serves a critical purpose of observing, interpreting, and predicting economic behaviors, trends, and phenomenon based on factual evidence and data – hence, it’s sometimes referred to as “what is” economics. It focuses on objective economic analysis, aiming to provide objective clarity and understanding about how the economy functions, thereby paving the way for data-driven decision making. It thrives on factual and quantifiable information, such as the effect of an increase in taxes on the economy or how a rise in interest rates might affect inflation. Although it doesn’t involve subjective perspectives, its data-driven insights inform policymakers, businesses, and individuals yielding weighted decisions aligned with economic realities.Moreover, positive economics is used for empirical study and hypothesis testing, as well as for predictive purposes. When economic policies are being formulated, the input provided by positive economics is crucial in understanding potential implications and consequences. Businesses utilize this economics type to infer market trends, anticipate economic fluctuations, estimate demand-supply gaps, and make tactical or strategic business actions. Similarly, positive economics also assists individuals in making informed decisions related to investment, savings, or expenditure based on the present economic scenario and future projection. Thus, positive economics helps to create efficient strategies for both microeconomic and macroeconomic challenges.


Positive economics involves an objective and fact-based approach to understand, study, and explain economic phenomena. It is all about facts and data which can be tested, and it is void of personal opinions or emotions. Here are three real-world examples:1. Inflation Rate: The government provides quarterly data about the inflation rate which is a positive economic concept as it can be measured and tested. Economists can check whether an increase in the money supply has led to inflation using past data.2. Unemployment Rate: Another clear example of positive economics is the monthly or yearly report of unemployment rate by the Bureau of Labor Statistics or any country’s labor department. The statement “An increase in the minimum wage will cause a rise in unemployment” could be proven true or false by looking at historical data of unemployment rates and minimum wages.3. GDP Growth: When economists evaluate data on GDP growth to understand the state of the economy or predict future scenarios, they are engaged in positive economics. For example, data shows that a country’s GDP has increased by 2% in the last year. This is a statement of positive economics as it can be confirmed with real data.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Positive Economics?

Positive Economics refers to the branch of economics that focuses on the description, prediction, and explanation of economic phenomena and trends. It focuses on factual and measurable economic behavior rather than ideals or what the economic behavior should be.

Does Positive Economics involve personal or subjective viewpoints?

No, Positive Economics is objective. It deals strictly with data, real-world situations, and facts without incorporating opinions or personal bias.

What is an example of Positive Economics?

An example of Positive Economics could be the analysis of how an increase in taxes would impact the economy, or studying the effects of a corporation laying off a percentage of its workers.

How does Positive Economics differ from Normative Economics?

Unlike Positive Economics which deals with ‘what is’ , Normative Economics deals with ‘what should be’. While Positive economics focuses on factual and real data, Normative economics involves judgments and personal viewpoints about economic fairness or decisions.

Why is Positive Economics important?

Positive Economics is important because it helps to explain and predict economic behavior, provides the data necessary for making economic forecasts, and forms the backbone for theoretical and applied economics.

What are the tools used in Positive Economics?

Tools used in Positive Economics may include statistical models, economic theories, econometrics, and various mathematical computation methods.

How reliable is Positive Economics?

Because Positive Economics relies on measurable data and facts, it is believed to be reliable, but like all models, the assumptions it relies on and the accuracy of the submitted data significantly affect the reliability of its predictions and conclusions.

Can Positive Economics influence public policy?

Yes, findings derived from Positive Economics often provide the basis for public policy decisions. However, whether those findings should be used to influence policy is the realm of Normative Economics.

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