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:

    • Jun 2018: The Trade Partnership Worldwide recently published a brief on The Estimated Impacts of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum by Dr. Francois, L.M. Baughman, and D. Anthony. According to the authors' estimates, the tariffs will result in a short-term 0.2% annual reduction in GDP and a net loss of 400,445 jobs across the US economy with more than two-thirds in production and low-skill jobs.

    • Apr 2018: Apr 2018: A NY Times article, Federal Budget Deficit to Top $1 Trillion in 2020, was published in reaction to the current CBO Budget and Economic Projections: 2018-2028. The article may include political opinions which do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this office. We encourage readers to review the CBO Projections independently and have provided a link to the CBO Excel Spreadsheet with the projections by year and category.

    • Feb 2018: The latest Economic Report of the President is available at The GPO which provides links to the various chapters for easy to find subjects of interest. The report summarizes the current Administrations policies and visions while providing detailed statistical information in its appendices.

    • Jan 2018: It’s Tax Season and the New Tax Bill has been signed. Click here to find out how the new tax bill will affect you in 2017.

    • Dec 2017: Learn how to sort facts from fictions when dealing with economic policy debates. An economist explains how to do this in an article published in the NY Times. Click here to find out.

    • Oct 2017 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 5-year 2012-2016 American Community Survey for the United States or go to the American Fact Finder for data on specific locations.

    • Aug 2017: The Regional Economist published its 3rd Qtr 2017 "Economy at a Glance"for a graphical look at each economic sector of the United States Economy

    Health Care:

    • Canada Letter: Health Care Comparisons, published in the NY Times stated that Canada was knocked out early due to long wait times in this head-to-head comparison of health care systems throughout the world; however, "longer wait times in Canada" was not due to the system's design but the lack of funding since Canada spends "about half of what the U.S. does for health care." According to the article, "wait times are most likely an economic decision, not one inherent to single-payer." Click here to read the full article.

    • Hospital Finances & Policies: Allan Baumgarten, has several new reports out including, "Florida Health Market Review 2017". Note: You will have to click on the Report Tab to view the newest report for Florida. He has published market studies for 9 states including his newest, "Minnesota Health Market Review 2017". For a complete list of his recent reports, visit his website at The reports are listed by state on the right side of the page.

    • Understanding your hospital bill and your insurance: Would you like to know how to calculate your out-of-pocket costs? In the following Oct 2017 YouTube video, Dr. Lowe of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center explains common insurance terms and how they effect the amount you are responsible to pay.

    • Average Charges for Giving Birth by State: According to an Oct 2017 article in The Penny Hoarder, Alaska is the most expensive State for Vaginal births at $10,413 or C-Section births at $14,529. Alabama is the cheapest State for Vaginal births at $5,017 and Washington DC for C-Section births at $7,439.

    • High Cost of Child Birth: A 2013 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.

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

    • 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


    • Apr 2018: Total Non-farm payroll employment increased by 103,000 and the Unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1% in March 2018 according to the BLS Economic News Release published April 6, 2018.

    • Nov 2017: According to Pew Research Center, the main 5 ways the U.S. workforce has changed since the Great Recession of 2007 can be summed up as follows:

      1. A smaller share of Americans are in the labor force
      2. The workforce is getting more diverse
      3. There's more gray in the workforce with more 55 and older working
      4. Longer unemployment periods
      5. The shift towards service jobs continues, though more slowly

    • Oct 2017: BLS Economic Projections for 2016-2026 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 Oct 2017. The Oct 2017 News Release provides some highlights of the report including a chart of the ten fastest growing occupations projected for 2016-2026.

    • Sep 2017: Employer Health Benefits 2017 Annual Survey results are in. The annual premium for Employer-sponsored family health coverage is up 3% with annual premiums of $18,764 with workers paying about one-third of the cost according to the study by Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research and Education Trust. Single coverage came in at $6,690 per year with worker contribution at only 18% of the total premium cost. Click here for the full report. Please note this report may take a few minutes to load.

    • Aug 2017: Will the low unemployment rate cause inflation to spike? Not according to James Bullard, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. According to Mr. Bullard the relationship between unemployment rates and inflation is minimal. Click here to view his analysis on this issue.

    • 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.



    • Football Finance Charts:

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

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