Normative Economics versus Positive Economics:

One of the first lessons in a Principles of Economics Course is normative economics versus positive economics. The former deals with value judgments as to what should be such as a fair wage or what the goals of the public policy should be. The latter concerns facts and "what is." In any economic system, resources (labor, capital, land) are always scarce. Economics deals with the optimum allocation of these scarce resources whether it be at the individual consumer level, the business level or at the governmental level. Obviously, the optimal use of resources does involve value judgments. It is important when you read economic consultants' opinions to determine whether they are in the positive area (what is reality based on facts) or in the normative area (what should be based on philosophical principles). The following News items emphasize the normative position.

    General Economics:

    • May 2016: Want to know what State to live in to get the most out of your dollar? Click here to find out.

    • May 2016: Are Americans better off today than in the past. Find out in this historical perspective by the NY Times.

    • Mar 2016: CBO has updated its 10-year Baseline Budget Projections. According to the report, the CBO expects the 2016 Federal Deficit to be $534 billion; $100 billion more than the shortfall in 2015 (See Table 1). This is the first year since 2009 that the deficit is expected to increase as a share of the Nation's output - from 2.5% of GDP to 2.9%. This is a result of the growth in revenues over the next 10 years outpacing increases in spending. The deficit will increase from 2.8% of GDP in 2016 to 4.9% of GDP by 2026 reaching $9.3 trillion by 2026. CBO also projected in its Budget and Economic Outlook for 2016 that the economy will expand solidly over the next two years creating an increase in demand for goods and services; thereby, increasing the need for labor and lowering the unemployment rate. This will result in higher compensation; however, it will also lead to higher inflation and interest rates.

    • Feb 2016: The 2016 Economic Report of the President is a source of extensive economic data. You can download individual tables in PDF or Excel format, here. The report has several chapters on current economic policy which are political in nature and do not necessarily represent the opinion of this office.

    • Dec 2015: According to a NY Times article, very low interest rates may not be an anomaly after all and may stick around for quite some time. For more on why low interest rates may actually be the norm, read the NY Times article on that very subject.

    • May 2015: According to a NY Times article, it now looks as if the economy shrank in the first quarter. For more on this read the NY Times article

    • 2014 ACS: American Community Survey's annual data release provides statistics on a variety of population and housing topics for the nation, states, and your community. Click here to get the latest statistics from the 2010-2014 American Community Survey for the United States or go to the American Fact Finder for data on specific locations.

    Health Care:

    • Hospital Finances & Policies: Allan Baumgarten, has several new reports out including, "Florida Health Market Review 2015". He has also published market studies for 8 other states including his newest, "Minnesota Health Market Review 2016". For a complete list of his recent reports, visit his website at www.AllanBaumgarten.com.

    • Jun 2016: National Bureau of Economic Research has recently released a report on the developmental consequences of environmental toxicants. A synopsis of the working paper and how to purchase the full report can be found, here.

    • May 2015: Understanding your medical bill - Have you ever been confused by a medical bill? What happens after you visit the doctor? This video explains how medical costs are calculated and paid for by public and private insurance. Learn more about the path of that bill, how it’s processed, and who pays for what in the following video from Khanacademy.org.


    • Dec 2014: Is health care in America introducing its own form of math? Check out this New York Times Article, “The Odd Math of Medical Tests: One Scan, Two Prices, Both High” by Elizabeth Rosenthal.

    • High Cost of Child Birth: A NY Times article compares the high cost of child birth in America to other countries. Click here to read the full article on the "American Way of Birth, Costliest in the World." Compare the cost of child birth in America in 2013 with the cost of having twins in 1945, Mellish Twins Hospital Bill .

    • Average Charges for Giving Birth by State: A 2010 report compiled by the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project shows the average price of child birth by type of birth and facility. According to the report, the cost of giving birth in a hospital varies greatly from state to state and ranges from $5,786 to $37,000. If you opt for a Birth Center rather than a hospital, you can lower the cost considerably ranging from $1,200 to $4,275. Click here to view the chart or visit the Transform Childbirth Website for more information.

    Employment:

    • July 2016: The economic recovery in terms of number of jobs has been lower than every other time period except one. In most cases, the recovery is substantially lower as ullustrated in the graph of the trend line growth in employment during economic expansion periods shown below:

      Chart
      (click on graph to enlarge)

      Graph created by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and Value Economics, LLC. Click here to see the change in the current expansion's trendline growth in employment since Mar 2013 in basis points.

    • Mar 2016: Florida Outpaces U.S. in Income Growth with pay increases in the Construction and Health Care industries leading the way. For more on this read the Tampa Bay Times article

    • Dec 2015: BLS Economic Projections for 2014-2024 The U.S. Dept. of Labor regularly forecasts the demand for various occupations. They also give the average wage and the educational requirements. This data can be used to make sure the additional education you are getting is in an area where the occupational demand is high and where wages meet your expectations. The latest report was released in December of 2015. The report includes a list of the fastest growing occupations projected for 2014-2024 in Table 4 of the report.

    • Work Life Expectancy is increasing. Check out the articles and studies listed below:

    • Impact of Education on Worklife: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, higher education results in longer worklife and higher pay. Click Here to read the entire study.

    Education:

    • May 2014: Is College Worth It? The answer is a resounding Yes. According to the Economics Policy Institute, Americans with four-year degrees made 98% more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a degree. For more info click Here – NY Times Article.

    • 2013 PEW Study – The Impact of the Recession on Recent College Graduates. Although all 21- to 24-year-olds experienced declines in employment and wages during the recession, the decline was considerably more severe for those with less education. Click here for the full report.

    • Jan 2013: Check out this NY Times Article on Benefits of College Degree in Recession.

    Misc:

    • Football Finance Charts:

    • Kristi Dosh has posted SEC School Donations and Total Revenues for 2014.
        Click Here to view her latest compilation listed by institution.



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