The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Positive Economics

  • Richard G. Lipsey
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95189-5_1382

Abstract

‘Positive economics’ refers to the view that economic theories consistent with all conceivable observations are empirically empty and that empirically useful theories need to be consistent with existing observations (thus passing the ‘sunrise test’) and predict something new. It is neither logical positivist, nor operationalist, nor naïve falsificationist; nor is it based on strict dichotomies between positive and normative statements and between positive analysis and normative advice. It rejects the views that theories can assist understanding the world without making refutable statements about it; that theories can be criticized only on their own terms; and that all distinctions inhibit useful discourse.

Keywords

Agassi, J. Archibald, G. Assumptions Barriers to entry Bekar, C. Blaug, M. Caldwell, B. Carlaw, K. De Marchi, N. Economic history Falsificationism Friedman, M. Game theory Hahn, F. Hodgson, G. Hutchison, T. Industrial organization Klappholz, K. Labour economics Lind, H. Lipsey, R. G. Logical positivism Methodology Monopolistic competition Operationalism Policy advice Popper, K. Positive economics Positive–normative distinction Robbins, L. Samuelson, P. Scale effects Sunrise test Testing Theory appraisal Value judgements Verificationism Wong, S. 
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access

Bibliography

  1. Archibald, G. 1961. Chamberlain versus Chicago. Review of Economic Studies 29: 316–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Archibald, G. 1967. Refutation or comparison? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 17: 279–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blaug, M. 1992. The methodology of economics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blaug, M. 1998. The positive–normative distinction. In The handbook of economic methodology, ed. J. Davis, D. Hands, and U. Maki. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  5. Caldwell, B. 1982. Beyond positivism: Economic methodology in the twentieth century. London: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  6. de Marchi, N. 1988. Popper and the LSE economists. In The popperian legacy in economics, ed. N. de Marchi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Friedman, M. 1953. The methodology of positive economics. In Essays in positive economics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  8. Hahn, F. 1984. Equilibrium and macroeconomics. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  9. Hodgson, G. 2001. How economists forgot history: The problem of historical specificity in social science. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hutchison, T. 1938. The significance and basic postulates of economic theory. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  11. Hutchison, T. 1992. Changing aims in economics. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  12. Klappholz, K., and J. Agassi. 1959. Methodological prescriptions in economics. Economica 26: 60–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lind, H. 2007. The story and the model done: An evaluation of mathematical models of rent control. Regional Science and Urban Economics 37: 183–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lipsey, R.G. 1963. An introduction to positive economics, 1st edn. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.Google Scholar
  15. Lipsey, R.G. 1964. Positive economics in relation to some current trends. Journal of the Economics Association 5: 365–371. Reprinted in Lipsey (1997).Google Scholar
  16. Lipsey, R.G. 1975. An introduction to positive economics, 4th edn. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. The page referenced is reprinted in Lipsey (1997).Google Scholar
  17. Lipsey, R.G. 1981. Economists, policy makers and economic policy. In Economic policy making in Canada, ed. D. Smith. Montreal: C.D. Howe Institute. Reprinted in Lipsey (1997).Google Scholar
  18. Lipsey, R.G. 1997. The selected essays of Richard Lipsey. Volume I: Microeconomics, growth and political economy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  19. Lipsey, R.G. 2001. Successes and failures in the transformation of economics. Journal of Economic Methodology 8: 169–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lipsey, R.G., K. Carlaw, and C. Bekar. 2005. Economic transformations: General purpose technologies and long-term economic growth. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Robbins, L. 1935. An essay on the nature and significance of economic science, 2nd edn. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  22. Samuelson, P. 1948. Foundations of economic analysis. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Wong, S. 1978. The foundations of Paul Samuelson’s revealed preference theory: A study by the method of rational reconstruction. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard G. Lipsey
    • 1
  1. 1.