Is this question on topic? Edit: The question has since been deleted, so I will rephrase.

Is a question about what a country's current economic policy is in a certain area on topic?
Such a question is not about the theory behind or the likely effects of a certain policy. It is maybe a reference request. Is that still economics? An example:

Q: What is the current VAT in country X?
A: It is 12%.

I don't think this had any economic content.


2 Answers 2


I want to say off-topic because the VAT question especially is so utterly dull. But I also hesitate to suggest we introduce a blanket ban on these kinds of 'matter of fact' questions because

  1. it's hard to see where an objective line is to be drawn.
  2. there's an argument to be made that economists are the best people to ask about some of these things (not VAT, perhaps, but slightly richer questions like the one you linked to).

Perhaps one way forward would be to say that such questions are on-topic, and let the market decide through people's decisions on whether to answer and how to vote.

But I'm curious to hear the opinion of others.


I would consider the now-deleted question as squarely on topic here (specialized literature request), while the VAT-question example certainly off-topic.

The VAT question is a "bored to google - let's put economics.se to do it for me", since it just asks for a datum (or two, it doesn't matter).

The first, about EU policy, although ostensibly "purely factual" also, it refers to a complex matter for which most probably no "informative brochure/executive summary" exists, but only studies and research papers by experts who have gathered together and studied relevant EU official documents, synthesized them, analyzed them, and usually expressed opinions on them... which is applied macroeconomics and/or political economy. Such studies are usually not in the most public places even on the Internet, while it is possible that a member of the economics.se community could usefully guide the OP about where to find them, adding in the process useful content/resources here.

I believe @Ubiquitous is right: on this one, the line is not easy to be drawn a priori, and become "off-topic alert/on-topic guidance". Perhaps the per case close/downvote mechanism is the best approach.


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