Economics as Social Science and Policy Tool

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Economists as Social Scientist

Have you ever wondered why economists are known as social scientists? Well, economists work on understanding the tactic and notions on how do economic world really works? So they are similar scientists who seek major interest in studying positive and normative statement of economic conditions and policies.

Before we discuss further, let’s discuss the two statements first:

  • Positive statement

Positivestatement, in general, is entitled as the current situation on how the world is operated right now in terms of economic development. Though it is known as positive statement, but it can either be right or wrong. Economist, therefore, work on two major segments:

First, analyze where the positive statement is right or wrong.

Second, if the positive statement is wrong, they need to remove the same from the economic world.

Let’s understand the same through an example: If the positive statement states, “The planet is increased towards global warming because of the amount of coal we are burning.” The economist will work on the statement and whether it is true or false depending on the factual data.

  • Normative Statements

Normative statement,on the other hand, is a statement what works as an advice and the situation that are ought to be. Considering the same example, a statement that states, “People ought to cut their use of coal by 50 percent”, is a normative statement where one can agree and disagree. Please understand that these statements cannot be tested but can be agreed or disagreed depending on the detailed study pursued by major economists.

  • Unscrambling Cause and Effect

Talking about how economist really works, well they are majorly concerned with causes and effects of the positive statement which is turn results into test economic model that helps in understanding the scenario in a better way.

These economic models only include aspects from the economic world that are helpful and needed to evaluate the positive statement.

There are various question faced by economist like: Computers are getting cheaper, it is because of the great demand of the same in general public? Under such a scenario economists will prepare a testing model that will include factors: price of the computer, number of people using computers and many more. As per the model requirement, it will not include features like color of the laptop.

Once the test economic model is prepared, it helps in covering the facts with the assumptions of the same situation. But as easy as it sounds, the testing such models s really difficult as there are various factors which changes over that passage of time. In order to resolve such issues, economist tries to deal under the natural experiment that includes finding the correlation terms through statistical investigations and lead to a decision making statement depending on how people are going to respond considering one each at a time.

Economist as Policy Adviser

Have you ever thought of policy advisors? They are the most knowledgeable and famous economist who partly work to advise the government as well as owners of major businesses and help them with better economic decision. Policy advisers, in general, work on serving the economics basis that includes the positive and normative side of the policy, It is important to blend them together as normative side helps in understanding the policy goal and positive side helps in analyzing the current situations and evaluating towards alternate solutions like comparison of marginal costs along with benefits under the presence of the availability of best resources to the government or a corporate. .

Following is the list of popular economists who has proved their knowledge into advising some major economic change for the betterment of the government:

  • JagdishBhajwati: A fellow from Columbia University have contributed his knowledge of the government on subjects like trading and issues with economic development.
  • Christina Romer: A fellow from University of California in Berkeley was serving President Barack Obama as a chief economic adviser and is also entitled as head of president’s council of Economic advisers.


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