Discussion Questions on Summers's Memorandum and Normative Economics

(pp. 12-19 of EAMPPP)

1. What do you think of Summers's view that it would be a good thing if the World Bank could encourage the transfer of pollution, including especially polluting industries from developed countries to poor countries? Do you agree with him? Why or why not?

2. What are Summers's main arguments for his conclusion? What do you think of his arguments? Which seem to you the best and which the worst?

3. pp. 14-15 list eight distinctive features of normative economics. Which (if any) of these seemed to you surprising? Which (if any) seemed to you problematic? What alternatives are there?

4. How well does the argument on page 18 capture Summers's intentions? Is that argument sound? If not, why not?

5. With reference to figure 2.4.1 on page 19, how else might normative economics be done?