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Last updated 3 Oct 2021
In this short video we take a quick look at the idea of value judgements in economics.
A value judgement is an evaluative statement of how good or bad you think an idea or action is. A value judgement is often prescriptive, i.e. a normative view might be expressed that reveals certain attitudes or behaviours toward the world.
All government economic policies are influenced by value judgements, which vary from person to person, resulting in fierce debate between competing political parties.
Positive statements are objective statements that can be tested, amended or rejected by referring to the available evidence. Positive economics deals with objective explanation and the testing and rejection of theories.
Positive statements ought to be value judgement free – but this is often hard to achieve because we all bring to discussion and debate a set of values of ideas.
Deciding whether a statement is positive or normative is a common multiple-choice question.
Examiners may include words such as ‘should’ in statements that are positive (this is done to make students think they are normative and contain valuejudgements!).
The rule-of-thumb is that students should always consider whether the statement can be tested. If it can be tested, then it is a positive statement.