Journal of Quantitative Economics

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 937–948 | Cite as

Some Logical and Normative Issues Relating to Measurement in the Social Sciences

  • S. SubramanianEmail author
Policy Perspectives


This lecture is based on the premise that measurement is very important for the social sciences. However, it also enjoins care on the practitioner’s part in his or her engagement with the project of measurement. It deals, in particular, with four often overlooked issues with which quantification in the social sciences should be concerned: (1) social indicators in relation to the contrast between outcomes and processes; (2) measurement which tends to depend on the derivation of ‘ought’ propositions from ‘is’ propositions; (3) the neglect of the role of normative values in social and economic measurement; and (4) the role of language and logic in social measurement.


Outcomes Processes ‘Is’ propositions ‘Ought’ propositions ‘Decomposition’ Logical coherence Normative appeal Language Meaning 

JEL Classification

B41 I32 D39 O15 J11 



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© The Indian Econometric Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent ScholarChennaiIndia

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