The Positive and the Normative in Economic Thought  book cover
1st Edition

The Positive and the Normative in Economic Thought

ISBN 9781032161532
Published June 16, 2022 by Routledge
264 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The book responds to the need for greater clarity regarding the relationship between descriptive, evaluative and prescriptive approaches within positive and normative economics. It also analyses the entanglement between evaluative and prescriptive perspectives within several theoretical frameworks in normative economics such as social choice theory, the capability approach, behavioural welfare economics and various theories of justice.

It provides a forum for discussion between various schools of economic thought and several theoretical frameworks on the relationship between the study of facts, norms and values, with particular emphasis on classical political economy, the Marxian school of economics, the Frankfurt School, the Austrian school, the Chicago school, rational choice theory, expected utility theory, behavioural economics, experimental economics, development economics, welfare economics, public economics, constitutional political economy, the capability approach and politico-economic theories of justice.

Given the scope of questions treated in this book, it will be of interest to economists, historians of economic thought, political philosophers and philosophers of science, especially those interested in the philosophy and epistemology of economics.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. The Positive and the Normative in Economic Thought: A Historical-Analytic Appraisal

Sina Badiei and Agnès Grivaux

Section I. The Positive and the Normative in the History of Economic Thought

Chapter 2. The Positive-Normative Distinction in the Classical Economic Methodology

Michel S. Zouboulakis

Chapter 3. Descriptions, Prescriptions and Norms: The Tripartite Classification of Economics by John Neville Keynes

Gilles Campagnolo

Chapter 4. Normative Economics and its Enemies: Marx, Mises and Friedman

Sina Badiei

Section II. The Positive and the Normative in Contemporary Economic Thought

Chapter 5. Economics as a Normative Discipline: Value Disentanglement in an ‘Objective’ Economics

John B. Davis

Chapter 6. Realism and Deliberation in Normative Economics: The Fruitful Intellectual Dialogue between James Buchanan and John Rawls

Nathanael Colin-Jaeger, Malte Dold & Alexandre Gascoin

Chapter 7. Normative Economics and Public Reason: Who Are the Addressees

Cyril Hédoin

Chapter 8. Reconciling Normative and Behavioural Economics: The Problem That Cannot Be Solved

Guilhem Lecouteux

Chapter 9. The Unacknowledged Normative Content of Randomised Control Trials in Economics and Its Dangers

Seán M. Muller

Section III. The Positive and the Normative in Economics: Philosophical Perspectives

Chapter 10. The Positive, the Normative and the Marxian Heritage in the Early Frankfurt School

Agnès Grivaux

Chapter 11. Economics as Value-Laden Science: Lessons from the Philosophy of Science on the Normative/Positive Distinctions and Rational Choice Theory

Magdalena Małecka

Chapter 12. The Positive, the Normative and the Ontology of Social Problems

Jesús Zamora-Bonilla

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Sina Badiei is Program Director in the Philosophy and Human Science Department at the Collège International de Philosophie (Paris) and a Fixed-Term Assistant Professor at the Walras-Pareto Centre of the University of Lausanne.

Agnès Grivaux is Assistant Professor (tenured) in Contemporary German Philosophy at the University of Nantes and a member of the research centre CAPhi.


"Debate about the relationship between positive and normative economics has been ongoing since the origin of the discipline. This volume offers an impressive collection of historical and philosophical research on this relationship. The chapters are wide-ranging, original, and well-researched. It is a significant contribution to the literature."

D. Wade Hands, University of Puget Sound