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Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how societies progress, stagnate, or regress because of their local or regional economy, or the global economy.


Socioeconomics is sometimes used as an umbrella term with different usages. The term 'social economics' may refer broadly to the "use of economics in the study of society".[1] More narrowly, contemporary practice considers behavioral interactions of individuals and groups through social capital and social "markets" (not excluding, for example, sorting by marriage) and the formation of social norms.[2] In the latter, it studies the relation of economics to social values.[3]

A distinct supplemental usage describes social economics as "a discipline studying the reciprocal relationship between economic science on the one hand and social philosophy, ethics, and human dignity on the other" toward social reconstruction and improvement[4] or as also emphasizing multidisciplinary methods from such fields as sociology, history, and political science.[5] In criticizing mainstream economics for its alleged faulty philosophical premises (for example the pursuit of self-interest) and neglect of dysfunctional economic relationships, such advocates tend to classify social economics as heterodox.[6]

Socioeconomists often focus on the social impact of economic change. These changes might be brought by new technologies, market manipulation, international trade treaties, laws or regulations, natural hazards, etc. These changes might affect patterns of consumption, the distribution of incomes and wealth, the way in which people behave (both in terms of purchase decisions and the way in which they choose to spend their time), and the overall quality of life. Socioeconomic developments can have wide-ranging social effects, from local effects on a small community to effects on an entire society.

The goal of socioeconomic study is generally to bring about socioeconomic development, usually by improvements in metrics such as GDP, life expectancy, literacy, levels of employment, etc.[citation needed]

Although harder to measure, changes in less-tangible factors are also considered, such as personal dignity, freedom of association, personal safety and freedom from fear of physical harm, and the extent of participation in civil society.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ John Eatwell, Murray Milgate, and Peter Newman, [1987] 1989. Social Economics: The New Palgrave, p. xii. Topic-preview links, pp. v-vi.
  2. ^ Becker, Gary S. (November–December 1974). "A theory of social interactions". Journal of Political Economy. Chicago Journals. 82 (6): 1063–1093. JSTOR 1830662. doi:10.1086/260265.  Pdf.
       • _____ and Kevin M. Murphy, 2001, Social Economics: Market Behavior in a Social Environment. Description and table of contents. Harvard University Press.
       • Mariano Tommasi and Kathryn Ierulli, ed., 1995. The New Economics of Human Behavior, Cambridge. Description and preview.
       • Steven N. Durlauf and H. Peyton Young 2001. "The New Social Economics" in Social Dynamics, ch. 1, pp. 1-14. Preview. MIT Press.
       • Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume, 2008. The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition:
    "social interactions (empirics)" by Yannis M. Ioannides. Abstract.
    "social interactions (theory)" by José A. Scheinkman. Abstract.
  3. ^ • 'Relation of Economics to Social Values' is the corresponding title of JEL: A13 in the Journal of Economic Literature classification codes.
       • Jess Benhabib, Alberto Bisin, and Matthew Jackson, ed., 2011. Handbook of Social Economics, Elsevier:
         Vol. 1A: Part 1. Social Preferences, ch. 1-11; Part 2. Social Actions, ch. 12-17. Description & Contents links and chapter-preview links.
         Vol. 1B: Part 3. Peer and Neighborhood Effects, ch. 18-25. Description & Contents links and chapter-preview links
  4. ^ Mark A. Lutz, 2009. "Social economics," in Jan Peil and Irene van Staveren, ed., Handbook of Economics and Ethics, p. 516. [Pp. 516-22.] Edward Elgar Publishing.
       • _____, 1999. Economics for the Common Good: Two Centuries of Social Economic Thought in the Humanist Tradition, Routledge. Preview.
  5. ^ Davis, John B.; Dolfsma, Wilfred (2008), "Social economics: an introduction and a view of the field", in Davis, John B.; Dolfsma, Wilfred, The Elgar companion to social economics, Cheltenham, UK Northampton, Massachusetts: Edward Elgar, pp. 1–7, ISBN 9781848442771.  Preview. Description.
       • International Journal of Social Economics. Description.
       • Socio-Economic Review.
  6. ^ • Edward O'Boyle, ed., 1996. Social Economics: Premises, Findings and Policies, pp. ii and ix.
       • Tony Lawson, 2006. "The Nature of Heterodox Economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, 30(4), pp. 483-505. Alternate access copy (press +).
       • Frederic S. Lee, 2008. "heterodox economics," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Ed., v.4, pp. 1–6. Abstract.


  • Gustav Cassel, [1931] 1932. The Theory of Social Economy. Reprinted 1967, Augustus M. Kelley. From the Mises Institute, select among sections (press +).
  • Hellmich, Simon N. (2015) What is Socioeconomics? An Overview of Theories, Methods, and Themes in the Field, Forum for Social Economics 44 (1), 1-23.
  • Pokrovskii, Vladimir N. (2011) Econodynamics. The Theory of Social Production, Springer, Berlin.
  • Max Weber, 1922. Economy and Society, 2 v. Description and scroll to chapter-preview links.
  • Friedrich von Wieser, [1924] 1928. Social Economics. Foreword by Wesley C. Mitchell. Reprint 2003, Routledge. Scroll to chapter-preview links links.

External links

  • Association for Social Economics
  • The Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics
  • Economy and Society
  • Journal of Socio-Economics
  • Review of Social Economy
  • Socio-Economic Review
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