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LES ORIGINES DE LA DISTINCTION ENTRE POSITIF ET NORMATIF EN ECONOMIE (The Origin of the Positive-normative Distinction in Economics)

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  • Mongin, Philippe

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Abstract

French Abstract: Les économistes ont coutume de distinguer entre une composante positive et une composante normative de leurs travaux, ce qui est une singularité de leur discipline, car cette distinction n'a pas de répondant exact dans les autres sciences sociales. Elle a fortement évolué au cours du temps et les différentes manières de la concevoir aujourd'hui en reflètent l'histoire. On se propose ici d'en retracer les origines et les premières formes, de l'économie politique classique anglaise de la première moitié du XIXe siècle jusqu'à l'apparition de l'économie du bien-être dans la première moitié du XXe siècle. Ce parcours séquentiel vise aussi à identifier les positions les plus représentatives et les arguments invoqués pour les soutenir, en préparant ainsi une discussion qui serait moins historique et plus strictement conceptuelle. English Abstract: Economists are accustomed to distinguishing between a positive and a normative component of their work, a distinction that is peculiar to their field, having no exact counterpart in the other social sciences. The distinction has substantially changed over time, and the different ways of understanding it today are reflective of its history. Our objective is to trace the origins and initial forms of the distinction, from the English classical political economy of the first half of the 19th century to the emergence of welfare economics in the first half of the 20th century. This sequential account will also serve to identify the main representative positions along with the arguments used to support them, and it thus prepares the ground for a discussion that will be less historical and more strictly conceptual.

Suggested Citation

  • Mongin, Philippe, 2018. "LES ORIGINES DE LA DISTINCTION ENTRE POSITIF ET NORMATIF EN ECONOMIE (The Origin of the Positive-normative Distinction in Economics)," HEC Research Papers Series 1259, HEC Paris, revised 24 Apr 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebg:heccah:1259
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    Keywords

    économie positive et économie normative; jugements de valeur; thèse de Hume; objectivité au sens de Weber; économie du bien-être; John Stuart Mill; John Neville Keynes; Lionel Robbins; positive economics and normative economics; value judgments; Humes thesis; objectivity in;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B20 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - General
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General

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