The Necessary Normative Context of Positive Economics

  • Richard B. McKenzie
Part of the Kluwer Nijhoff Studies in Human Issues book series (KNSHS)


In recent decades economists have in many significant ways refined and made more sophisticated their theoretical and empirical techniques. Concomitantly, economics has gained considerable acceptance in the media and government circles as an important basis for the development of politically acceptable, if not efficient, public policies.1 Proponents of social reform actively seek the counsel of economists in the development of their reform packages. These proponents (and their opposition) understand that the success or failure of proposed policy changes often, but not always, hinges on the findings of scholarly economic studies.


Austrian Economic Economic Science Logical Positivist Normative Context Pareto Efficiency 
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  1. 2.
    See, for example, Friedrich A. Hayek, “The Economy, Science, and Politics,” Studies in Philosophy, Politics and Economics ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967 ), pp. 259–69;Google Scholar
  2. Helmut Schoeck and James W. Wiggins, eds., Scientism and Values ( New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1960 );Google Scholar
  3. Warren J. Samuels, ed., The Chicago School of Political Economy ( East Lansing: University of Michigan Press, 1977 ).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kenneth E. Boulding, “Economics as a Moral Science,” Economics as a Science (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1970), pp. 117, 119.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Warren J. Samuels, “Economics as a Science and Its Relation to Policy: The Example of Free Trade,” Journal of Economic Issues, March 1980, pp. 163–85.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Milton Friedman, “The Methodology of Positive Economics,” Essays in Positive Economics ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953 ), pp. 3–3.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Robert Mundell, Man and Economics (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968),Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Nijhoff Publishing 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard B. McKenzie
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Clemson UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Heritage FoundationUSA

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