Economics: Value Neutral or Value Entangled

This research project demonstrates the ways in which fact and value are entangled in economic concepts and the implications of this entanglement for the ways in which various economic problems are approached.

Economists often assert the distinction between the normative and positive and purport to limit their scientific research to the latter. However, economists should recognize the distinction but reject the dichotomy. The recognition of the appropriate normative foundation can lead to improvements in the analytical clarity of economic concepts and their more meaningful use in public deliberation and policy choice. Revealing more explicitly the role of normative judgments in economic analysis can clarify that certain debates ultimately concern values as much facts. A sound approach to the choice of economic policies must draw on relevant expertise but unavoidably involves moral reasoning and political debate.