# "The price of gasoline will go up because of current world conflicts" is:

A normative statement or a positive statement? This was a question on my economics 1010 quiz. I feel that it is an opinion but apparently it is a fact. I would appreciate any help understanding this concept. If I am correct, I need to be able to back up my basis for argument. Currently, my argument is that I cannot find any data or graphs to back up this statement and that I need a definition for "current" and for "world conflicts".

 ArcSine Posts: 961, Reputation: 523 Senior Member #2 Feb 8, 2012, 01:11 PM
Recall that the difference between normative and positive statements isn't exactly the simple difference of opinion vs. fact, it's a little more than that. The former is a statement expressing a view that some particular state or condition is "best" or "preferred", while the latter is a statement regarding an economic principle, where such principle has become generally accepted as fact.

Yeah, at first glance it seems like the same thing, but there's a subtle difference. Suppose you tell me that a certain good has a price elasticity of demand of X, and so if the price were to drop by some amount p, you tell me that demand would increase by some amount d. That's your opinion, but that's not enough to make it a normative statement. You're simply making an observation concerning the accepted definition and calculation of elasticity. In fact, if your opinion that the good has elasticity X is correct, then your conclusion is also correct.

A normative statement, OTOH, is an opinion, but to be normative in the econ sense it has to be an opinion about what some state or condition is best or preferred. "Overall and on average, people are happiest when unemployment is P percent." Until someone invents an infallible Happy-O-Meter, such a statement can never be more than opinion.
 shasta45 Posts: 2, Reputation: 10 Junior Member #3 Feb 14, 2012, 08:06 PM
Thank you so so much! That helped a lot! =)

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