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What is Socioeconomics? An Overview of Theories, Methods, and Themes in the Field



The term socioeconomics is widely used, even though it is often connoted to quite divergent understandings about what it actually describes. It sometimes appears as an umbrella term for a range of quite successful but diverse and occasionally antagonistic approaches that cannot easily be combined. Sometimes it is applied to rather specific scientific endeavors. This paper is not conceptual, i.e., it concludes with some moderate considerations about optional ways to advance a consolidation of socioeconomics only. In first instance, it is intended to provide some orientation in the diverse field and discusses distinctions that can be made between major theoretical and methodological currents, subject areas, and understandings of the purpose of socioeconomics.
Simon Niklas Hellmich
What is Socioeconomics? An Overview of Theories, Methods and Themes in the Field
ABSTRACT The term socioeconomics is widely used, even though it is often connoted to quite divergent
understandings about what it actually describes. It sometimes appears as an umbrella term for a range of
quite successful but diverse and occasionally antagonistic approaches that cannot easily be combined.
Sometimes it is applied to rather specific scientific endeavors. This paper is not conceptual, i.e. it concludes
with some moderate considerations about optional ways to advance a consolidation of socioeconomics only.
In first instance it is intended to provide some orientation in the diverse field and discusses distinctions that
can be made between major theoretical and methodological currents, subject-areas and understandings of
the purpose of socioeconomics.
Socioeconomics - new economic sociology heterodox economics - research paradigm
JEL Classification
B5 Current Heterodox Approaches; A12 Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines; A13 Relation of
Economics to Social Values; Z13 Economic Sociology • Economic Anthropology • Social and Economic
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Forum for Social Economics on 15 Jan 2015, available
1 Introduction
Stern some twenty years ago, characterized socioeconomics as an “interdisciplinary perspective” with
uncertain future prospects to develop into a “coherent field”, sustainably viable and influential (Stern, 1993:
1). Stern however had a rather specific understanding of what socioeconomics should be or become.
In fact, while the term socioeconomics is sometimes used to name quite specific research programs (e.g.
Lutz, 2006) it most often appears as an umbrella term for a number of partly highly successful but diverse
and occasionally antagonistic approaches. While some of them are methodologically highly elaborated
research endeavors that made significant contributions in fields such as new economic sociology and
political economy, it is difficult to combine them to a unified paradigm for the engagement with economic
phenomena. Thus, the term socioeconomics does not represent an alternative way to do economics, it
represents many different ways. Even the activities pursued in the context of communities such as the
Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) have been characterized as empirically successful
but lacking a sufficiently concise theoretical underpinning (see: Boyer 2008; Hollingsworth and ller 2008;
Müller 2014).
While the terminology of socioeconomics and some key concepts appear in a number of discussions and
disciplines, there is no clearly identified domain of investigation, no unifying set of tools or perhaps a general
theory clearly and exclusively associated with a consensual definition of the concept socioeconomics. As
there is no strong association to a specific canon of methods and theory, at least in comparison to other
more restrictively defined approaches, socioeconomics might perhaps benefit from its quality as a platform
for multidisciplinary approaches (e.g.: Abbott 2001; Hollingsworth and Müller 2008: 416; Moody 2004: 215
217). On the other hand one might fear that much of its potential as a vehicle of progress in the social
sciences might be forfeit, as there is no definite domain of investigation defined for socioeconomics and little
consensus about its mission. Most social scientists would agree that socioeconomics can help to curb the
influence of the normative implications of the homo oeconomicus-paradigm.1 But fewer support the idea of
1 Of course economics in principle and in most cases is pursued as a positive science, is concerned with the description and
explanation of economic phenomena and “is in principle independent of any particular ethical position or normative judgments”
(Friedman 1953). But positive economics can be used to derive normative implications. Most economists still identify normativity
exclusively with ethics but this standard characterization is problematic for a number of reasons, most involving the idea that rational
choice theory may itself be a normative theory: a normative theory of rational action. Orthodox neoclassical economics at least seeks to
socioeconomics as an instrument for social engineering, i.e. a tool to design blueprints for social structures of
a more productive and humane society.
With respect to its methods and theory, socioeconomics is perhaps no more heterogeneous than most
disciplines in the social sciences. But its undefined nature is specifically problematic because the field is
lacking the institutional and structural framework that supports established disciplines in acquisition of
resources, ensures control of parts of the labor market and a common socialization of its practitioners in
academic training and work experiences.
Several researchers have discussed options for a future development of socioeconomics (e.g. Boyer 2008;
Etzioni 2010; Hollingsworth and Mueller 2008; Müller 2014; Streeck 2010), but the paper at hand is not
conceptual. Rather than to elicit from the literature a paradigm for socioeconomics its primary purpose is to
outline a topography of the currently existing research, to overview and systematize theoretical and
methodological currents, subject-areas and understandings of the purpose of socioeconomics.
In most cases distinction lines between academic fields of study can be defined only relationally, by
comparison to each other. This paper largely follows this approach and develops its argument in three steps.
In section two I survey the divergent theories applied and methodological strategies pursued in the context of
socioeconomics. In section three, I briefly overview in what domains of investigation socioeconomic
arguments are made. The fourth section concludes.
2 Theory and Method in Socioeconomics
Historically modern socioeconomics can be traced back to some early beginnings in mid-nineteenth century,
as it emerged out of a counter-movement to the ongoing differentiation of the social sciences into a range of
differentiated disciplines and the rise of physics as paradigm for scientific methodology. Other perhaps more
important points of reference are classics such as Friedrich Engels, Auguste Comte, Max Weber or Karl
Polanyi, as they placed the economic system at the heart of their social theories (see: Mikl-Horke 2011,
find allocations which make humans as happy as possible, as preferences are taken as given. Secondly, the analytical methodology of
neoclassical economics preferably frames situations as markets whereas there is sufficient evidence suggesting that, if a given situation
is framed as a market, most people tend to behave more selfishly (Liberman et al. 2004) because in market-like contexts, there is broad
acceptance of self-interest, and it may even constitute the social norm to follow. The association between markets and self-interested
behaviour is understood even by non-economists (Bicchieri 2006).
2014). The revival of socioeconomics since the 1970s was largely driven by the intention to replace
neoclassical dominance in orthodox economics and to counteract the influence of normative implications of
rational choice assumptions.
Practitioners of socioeconomics claim that the uniqueness of their approach lies in the definition of more
realistic assumptions about human action and a capability to adequately recognize the relevancy of
influences from other spheres of social life, such as culture, politics, technology and social relations on the
economy and their relevancy for the explanation of economic phenomena. Economic action, while obtaining
a specific meaning from the fact that it pursues the actor's interest in material gain, is not understood or
explained in disregard of the multifacetedness of human preference-formation and decision making. More
recently greater emphasis is placed on the supplementation of neoclassical theory, rather than on its
replacement (SASE 2013; EAEPE 2013; ASE 2013).
Coming from these two sources of inspiration, in modern socioeconomics the economy is not conceptualized
to be functionally differentiated from other spheres of social life in the way orthodox neoclassical theorizing
would require. I will distinguish here two groups of methodological approaches, as they emerge from the two
main motivations of socioeconomic research: The first group concentrates on the controversy with
neoclassical economics and the rational choice theory. The second draws its inspiration primarily from the
intention to understand economic life as part of social life. The first which I call ‘economicsocioeconomics
- is methodologically closer to economics. The second – ‘sociological” socioeconomics’ - has significant
overlaps with sociology and the term socioeconomics is in fact sometimes used synonymously with new
economic sociology.
2.1 Socioeconomics versus neoclassical economics: encapsulation and embeddedness
Among those who consider socioeconomics to be a countermovement to neoclassical economics at least
three schools can be distinguished. They are more or less closely arranged around the related but not
identical concepts social encapsulation(see: Etzioni 1988) and embeddedness(Beckert 2007; Giullén et
al. 2002).
From the perspective of Etzioni (1988), Coughlin (1996) and Stern (1993) socioeconomics is an endeavor to
reform economics, most importantly to replace neoclassical theory and the homo oeconomicus paradigm
from the dominant position it held in economics at least into the 1980s. This version of socioeconomics is
supposed to facilitate inter- or multidisciplinary approaches to standard macro- and micro-economic
problems, such as growth, business cycles, efficiency of markets or competitiveness of individual firms. It
does not propose a new paradigm with a single driving force other than self-interest. Rather, in a way
comparable to amended game theory models, it recognizes the importance of self-interest, but adds other
variables (Stern 1993).
In this understanding socioeconomics is a normative science and measures outcomes against ethical
standards. Its purpose is to improve economics by a more realistic action-theoretical foundation, to show
what behavioral patterns (competition, cooperation, altruism and others) in what contexts generate socially
desirable results and to device institutional and structural adjustments to induce the desired behavior
(Coughlin 1996; Etzioni 1988; Harrison 1999; Hattwick 1999; Stern 1993). Social norms and actors'
preferences are not treated as given factors, but as variables, interacting with each other and themselves a
result as well as a determinant of economic action and social structures.
In Etzioni’s I&We’- paradigm (Etzioni 1988) key assumptions of the orthodox rational choice approach are
kept. The ‘I’ represents a hedonistic-utilitaristic inclination. It might vary in strength and of course in the
degree to which the individual actor suppresses it by an autonomous moral choice to comply to norms. The
norms are held by the social group the actor considers himself to be a member of (the We). But the ‘I’ is
considered to be a character trait that can be universally assumed for human beings, while the We
represents its socially constructed cultural and normative encapsulation. Though it maintains elements of
rational choice analysis and other methodological specificities of economic analysis the I&Weconcept is
far less deterministic than action-theories that are based on original rationality assumptions.
Socioeconomics has been called a “foundation of economics on the social sciences” (Granvogl and Perridon
1995, translation by the author). This means that a key element of socioeconomics is the adequate
supplementation of economics with help from other social sciences and humanities. To develop realistic
models of human behavior socioeconomists resort to methods and knowledge from economic history,
political science and sociology. Some place specific emphasis on behavioral economics and psychology as
sources of empirical data (Hattwick, 1999; Azar, 2007; Davis, 2014; Etzioni, 2010, 2014).
Some findings generated in the context of behavioral economics have been transformed into practical policy
suggestions (e.g. Zedr, 2012; McCaffery and Slemrod, 2006; Diamond and Vartiainen, 2007) but beyond
some pioneering efforts (Akerlof and Shiller 2009; Lopez 2011) there has not yet emerged a behavioral
macroeconomics or the design of new prognosis-models to compete with orthodox approaches (Etzioni,
2014). To make a socioeconomics that draws largely on behavioral economics a viable competitor to
neoclassical economics, behavioral and experimental economics must perhaps overcome its present focus
on individual choices and explain how the social environment affects behaviors and strategies (cf. Boyer,
2008; Streeck, 2010).
Among economicsocioeconomics there are at least two more distinct currents. They involve very little
knowledge from the behavioral sciences or none at all. Instead, they rest at least in part on more or less
amended bounded rationality assumptions that allow them to deduct from more specific assumptions and
predictions about human choices than the occasionally still somewhat fragmented and not always
unambiguous empirical knowledge generated by behavioral economics. The terms ‘social economics’ (Davis
and Dolfsma 2008; Lutz 2009) and ‘new social economics (Durlauf and Young 2001; q.v.: Benhabib et al.
2011) describe two rather clearly specified methodological approaches with a more or less distinguishable
agenda. The perspective social economics on economic phenomena is strongly inspired by Mark
Granovetters influential argument that “economic and noneconomic activity are intermixed, and thus non-
economic activity affects the costs and the available techniques for economic activity” (Granovetter 2005:
35). Economic interaction is embeddedin normative, cultural, structural and other environments that pre-
exist the emergence of market-exchange. In new social economicsmarkets are quasi the nature-state of
economic exchange and social relations, norms and structures emerge in dynamic stochastic processes of
interaction between myopically rational actors that shape their preferences in response to other actor's
choices and constrained by their bounded rationality.
Social economics examines the interaction of economic valuations with economic activity and economic
institutions and measures their outcome against basic ethical values. Its methodological hallmarks are to
conceptualize a socioeconomic system as a collection of heterogeneous individuals that interact directly
and/or through prices generated by markets. It recognizes that individual actors have different and alterable
competencies and potentialities, develop individual identities and replicate and change their respective
sociocultural context in social processes (Davis 2014; Mayhew 2008; Hargreaves Heap 2008). Peer groups,
social networks, structures, role models, and the like are important variables in explanations of individual
behavior. Individual preferences and beliefs are influenced by the interactions that characterize the system.
These approaches usually do not any more adhere to a strict methodological individualism and social
processes occasionally play a strong role.
The stronger emphasis placed on the meso-level and social processes leads the practitioners of social
economics to resort to social theory, because they often consider empirical social sciences insufficient to
access all relevant dimensions of human existence and social relations (cf. Lutz 2006: 306). New social
economics relies on stochastic dynamical systems theory, supplemented by large-scale simulation
techniques that have some limited predictive capabilities (Durlauf and Young 2001; Benhabib et al. 2011). It
has large overlaps with, or forms a part complexity economics (cf.: Durlauf 2012). The currents represented
by Etzioni (1988), Coughlin (1996) and Stern (1993) rely more on individual choice. Their view on individual
choice and explanatory approach is closer to is closer to orthodox economics as it would deny that society is
anything but an aggregation of individuals at all.
A significant methodological difference between social economics and socioeconomics of the type
described by Etzioni (1988), Coughlin (1996) and Stern (1993) lies in the way the two schools of thought
conceptualize the relation between markets versus norms and institutions. Etzioni’s I&We’- concept seems
to suggest that social norms and markets are more or less different entities. Norms constrain the spectrum of
options the actor is chooses from and the second constituting a sphere of freedom, characterized by rational
utility-maximization. By contrast, the perspective of social economics implies that in rare cases only norms
and institutions play no role and other embedding factors have no weight in the individual decision and no
relevancy for economic outcomes.
A characterization of socioeconomic schools of thought can also point at a difference between emphasizing
allocation versus cooperation. Traditional neoclassical economics has a tendency to emphasize allocative
efficiency and it is not well prepared to take account of the social nature of economic activity. Many social
economists, by contrast, consider their science a science of provisionand production and of the way
people and society organize (c.f. Davis and Dolfsma 2008: 3).
The schools of thought listed before (and other concepts not mentioned here) are rather clearly distinguished
from the neoclassical orthodoxy. But as the term socioeconomics is not clearly associated to any
methodological approach, it is also used in association with more conventional utility-maximization
approaches and methodological individualism appears in the context of socioeconomics as well. But adding
further variables and dependencies to a utility function is a strategy many advocates of a socioeconomic
perspective on economic phenomena do not deem sufficient to overcome the shortcomings of neoclassical
2.2 New economic sociology and social economics
New economic sociology can be traced back to the same historical roots as the economiccurrents of
socioeconomics and they hold a similar perspective on their subject of investigation, as both recognize the
economy as part of social life that cannot be understood in isolation. Indeed some use the terms
socioeconomics and new economic sociology synonymously. But there are clearly methodological
differences between approaches to socioeconomic analysis that emphasize the micro-level and the
rationality of the actors including the type proposed by Etzioni on the one hand and some parts of new
economic sociology on the other. But a sharp distinction is difficult to draw and perhaps inevitably debatable
as there are significant methodological and theoretical overlaps at least between social economics and some
currents of new economic sociology that are more oriented towards genuinely sociological methods and
theory. I begin with a description of the overlaps and go on with explaining what differences should be
recognized and that there are desiderata left for a sociological socioeconomicsto develop into.
To follow my argument it is perhaps helpful to imagine a spectrum spanning between economicand
sociologicalmethodological approaches. Neoclassical economics follows the principle of methodological
individualism and socioeconomic approaches that primarily focus on an improvement of action-theory do so
as well. Etzioni's analytical perspective, while integrating the level of the socialby the We, locates any
conflict of self-interest versus norms on the level of the individual alone. While he acknowledges that most
decisions are not made by individuals but by organizations or collectives of various kinds, he does not
conceptualize elements of intersubjectivity in the process wherein only individual interests are articulated and
power structures play an important role (Etzioni 1988). New economic sociology is quite heterogeneous and
covers a wider range of approaches mostly located on the opposite side of the spectrum. In particular it’s
more recent developments place more emphasis on the meso-level of social activity and more complex
views of human decision making. While rational choice arguments and methodological individualism are not
absent from the context of new economic sociology their role is limited and they are clearly not genuine to
this discipline and recent developments in new economic sociology generally point in another direction.
Methodological proximity is greater between social economics and recent economic sociology, as both
currents abandon simple methodological individualism as well as methodological holism, which explains
socio-economic phenomena solely by reference to social structure, social institutions and culture. New
economic sociology has developed no genuine theory yet. Concepts of pre-reflected and routinized behavior
are used to explain the outcome of every day decisions as replication of established patterns that are
stabilized by their embedding. But in both new economic sociology and socioeconomics assumptions of
bounded rationality and constrained choice are applied and recent advances to improve theorizing in new
economic sociology lead in the same direction as social economics. Both go beyond the extension of
decision-functions, seek ways to overcome the limitations of incentive versus disincentive calculations and of
methodological individualism. At the same time they do not always offer adequate analytical access to the
various forms and preconditions of inter-subjective processes in the forming of preferences and in decision
making. Yet an extended rational choice decision-function, supplemented by variables for context features,
will not correctly describe an individual choice, because individual choices are embedded in an environment
of time- and context-depending moral choices that must be recognized to explain a phenomenon (Streeck,
2010). Thus, a richer theory is necessary.
Such a theory requires the development of arguments that integrate structures, institutions, culture and
actors as explanans as well as explanandum. A proper socioeconomic view as some argue would inform
us about processes of intersubjective opinion-forming and its role in the final choice. Processes of this kind
are difficult to reconstruct in conventional action-theoretical models. Etzioni’s I&We’-paradigm is too
dichotomically structured, as some argue, because it distinguishes the social sphere of the market from its
„social encapsulate“ (Piore 2003: 121-122). Social economics, by contrast, treats ethics and morals not as
entities distinct from the market sphere, but as an integral part of it, just as social structures (see Davis and
Dolfsma 2008). Norms are not an external constraint on individual freedom and to distinguish from individual
interest and freedom does not mean to pursue one's interests unrestricted by norms. Rather, freedom and
individuality are realized as freedom to interpret moral norms individually and context-depending (Piore
2003: 120-122; Streeck 2010). It should open up perspectives on the embedding of individual economic
action in collective action and on the way it transforms in the emergence and change of social structures. It
should go beyond orthodox economics by clearly recognizing that the market is not the only locus of social
activity and market exchange is not the only type of social interaction. Socioeconomics must explain how
norms and conventions are negotiated, preferences are developed, and that the interaction of reflecting and
self-reflecting actors is complex and contingent (cf. Piore 2003: 120-122; Streeck 2010). This is where social
theory comes in, because we need an understanding of what society is to elaborate our analytical
methodology. The further this development will continue, the more it will become difficult to differentiate a
socioeconomic from a sociological argument. It also suggests distinguishing a sociological socioeconomics,
which expands its methodological toolbox by elements of social theory, from economic socioeconomicswith
a methodology still largely drawn from economics.
From this point of view one might argue that the economics of conventions(Diaz-Bone, 2014) should be
categorized as a part of sociological socioeconomicseven though it is usually understood as belonging to
French heterodox economics (see: Hedtke 2014). As a dense network of mutually related concepts for
sociological and socioeconomic analysis of institutions, intersubjective cognition, coordination and social
construction of social facts and their properties, economics of conventions constitutes a framework that is at
least close to a social theory. This is not what the schools I subsumed under the term “economic
socioeconomics” so far did aim at. Thus, on the imagined spectrum distinguishing methodological
approaches and ranging from an economicto sociologicalsocioeconomics the economics of conventions
is positioned closer to sociology. A second less debatable differentiator separating l'économie des
conventions from economic socioeconomicsis that the economics of conventions does not pursue a
normative and prognostic agenda as emphatically as economic socioeconomicsdoes.
One of the most recent innovations in new economic sociology, relational approaches, should probably be
understood as a genuinely sociological strategy. As a critique of neoclassical theory the embeddedness
concept has profoundly transformed our understanding of economic activity. But it has not yet lead to the
innovation of original new theoretical and analytical concepts, that help us to understand different types of
economic activity (for a more extensive critique see: Zelizer 2012). Thus, it has been suggested to reinterpret
economic activity as “relational work” rather than as an activity that is facilitated by an embedding context of
structures, culture and so on. The term “relational work” reflects the idea that the creation of new or modified
meaningful relations, transactions, and media of exchange by actors involved in economic transactions. It is
a mostly contingent unpredictable process, because often the substance of relations, transactions, and
media tend to be vague or unscripted and outcomes of relational work are contingent in many cases (Zelizer
2012: 164). Methodological differences between economic socioeconomicsand sociological approaches to
economic phenomena will become more pronounced, if this research agenda is further pursued.
Methodological differences are not the only relevant dimension along which economic socioeconomics and
new economic sociology distinguish from each other. If we think about differences that exist with respect to
the purpose pursued by the different scientific endeavors further contrasts appear. At first, economists and
most socioeconomists claim that their field can and should develop capacities to predict future
developments, while economic sociologists mostly hold change of economic structures to be contingent.
They increasingly prefer the concept of path-dependent change and are reluctant to offer prognostic models
(Beckert 1996: 143; Streeck and Thelen 2005). Secondly, mainstream sociology, including new economic
sociology, as a rule has no normative agenda in its background, while at least economic socioeconomics is
pursued with normative conceptions in mind. Though it shares with sociology significant parts of its
theoretical and methodological inventory a sociological scocioeconomicscould sustain as an independent
academic field, if it develops a normative agenda and offers predictive models.
3 What is socioeconomic's domain of investigation?
Pointing at methodological and theoretical aspects only is not sufficient to characterize and distinguish
socioeconomics, because academic fields organize themselves at least as much around specific subject-
spaces as around sets of theories and methods. In the case of socioeconomics there are at least three
subject areas to mention:
If socioeconomics is considered a program to reform economics, the efforts are concentrated on two issues:
1) the improvement of actiontheory, e.g. by integration of behavioral and experimental economics as
auxiliary sciences and 2) the search for the social conditions, factors and mechanisms of economic action on
the micro- and meso-level. Some argue that the categorization and understanding of governance structures
(such as markets, hierarchies, and political economies) might potentially become the original domain of
socioeconomics. This area is currently in the focus of the activities of the SASE or the „Association for Social
Economics”. A third field emerges if socioeconomics is expanded to a general social science that
conceptualizes the capitalist economic system to be core element of the social system and driving force
behind social change. Beyond that, I will briefly touch upon currents in law and management sciences
wherein elements of socioeconomic analysis become applied to counter influences from orthodox
neoclassical economics, while it is not likely that socioeconomics will become a dominating paradigm in
these areas.
3.1 Socioeconomic Research in the Field of Economics: A new Paradigm?
The paradigm-terminology appears rather frequently with respect to socioeconomics and the idea that it
represents an alternative way to do economics. It is not necessary to repeat Kuhn’s paradigm-concept
(1962) in detail here. Briefly summarized the term describes a body of expert-knowledge that defines what
subjects and methods are considered appropriate and exemplary for a discipline. Paradigms are
fundamentally different from each other and mutually exclude and replace each other. An established
paradigm is substituted in a conflictual process if it is confronted with empirical observations that cannot be
explained within the framework of its premises or if reinterpretations of existing empirical data appear in
number and influence great enough to raise doubts about the predominant paradigm, while these problems
are solvable by another paradigm.
Kuhn himself wanted to apply the paradigm-concept to the sciences only. He thought of a rather coherent
body of knowledge, dominating a discipline as a system of questions and methods. But in the social sciences
such coherency and uniformity are rare. The dominance of neoclassical theory in economics up to the 1980s
with its focus on markets, contracts and hierarchies perhaps exemplifies a paradigm in social science (cf.
Gäfgen and Monissen 1978).
But today neither orthodox economics, nor as I tried to show in the previous section socioeconomics
appear as a homogeneous entity excluding the other. Since the 1980s orthodox economics has significantly
changed its appearance. If socioeconomics is understood as competing with orthodox economics in its
domain, it is confronted with currents that since the 1980 increasingly abandoned the concept of the short-
term material utility-maximizing homo oeconomicus and replaced it with more realistic images of the human
actor (Colander et al. 2004; Caspari and Schefold 2011). Some even argue that the science of complexity is
revolutionising mainstream economics (Colander et al. 2004; Holt et al. 2011).
Orthodox economics heightened its sensitivity towards the relevancy of social relations, social processes and
socially constructed factors. Developing more flexible and elaborated understandings of utility maximization
and integrating further variables for ideologies and norms and concepts such as kinship altruism and
reciprocal altruism into formalmathematical calculus orthodox economics has greatly extended the
explanatory power of the original neoclassical approach. Common economic theorizing now recognizes the
relevancy of culturally transmitted morally and ethically motivated preferences and individual dispositions. It
is perhaps more likely that the economic orthodoxy will split into a number of more independent currents,
some of them converging with heterodox lines of thinking (cf.: Bögenhold 2010; 2011; q.v.: Davis 2008) or
becomes at least more transdisciplinary and stressing complexity, rather than that socioeconomics will end
the developmental path of a neoclassical orthodox economics that does not exist anymore as a coherent
entity. This refers to the abandonment of the strict homo oeconomicus concept, but also includes recognition
of genuine social or intersubjective causes of economic action, i.e. the gradual replacement of
methodological individualism as standard methodological approach. If the various currents covered here
under the term socioeconomics are taken as a whole, both of these methodological strategies had not been
pursued strictly and consequently enough to make socioeconomics a paradigm clearly distinguishable from a
neoclassical mainstream.
3.2 Socioeconomic Research on Governance Structures: A Subdiscipline of Political Science and
Some argue that socioeconomics should concentrate on the distinction and analysis of economic
“governance structures” in order to develop a clearly shaped identity as an independent academic field (e.g.
Boyer 2008; Hollingsworth and Müller 2008; Müller 2014). Socioeconomics would focus on markets,
hierarchies, business systems, political economies as well as on governmental redistribution, allocation by
norms of reciprocity and on their underlying and embedding cultural, institutional and structural contexts. It
would apply to this task different methods and theories and perspectives on its subject. These topics are in
the center of the activities of the SASE and have contributed major parts to the publications that appear in
some socioeconomic journals.
Markets have perhaps attracted most attention in the field of socioeconomics. In the reductionist worldview of
genuine neoclassical economics markets emerge spontaneously, if supply meets demand. A socioeconomic
science of governance structures seeks to explain market outcomes by linking them to their institutional,
cultural, cognitive and structural embedding. But we find a wide range of different methods, perspectives and
research interests applied in these discussions, spanning between an economicand a sociologicaledge.
For Etzioni market exchange is caused and principally governed by self-interest, while a social capsule or
institutions might improve the efficiency of markets (Etzioni 1988). From the perspective of new social
economics the existence of market exchange itself does not need much explanation. The research interest
rather focuses on the emergence of its embedding. From a sociological perspective markets are institutional
arrangements and market exchange won't come into existence without numerous preconditions (Swedberg
1994) and cannot exist in isolation from other social spheres.
In the varieties of capitalism approach to give another example - institutions are primarily constraints on the
individual freedom of bounded rational actors and institutions change mostly in response to external shocks
(e.g. Hall and Soskice, 2001). The business systems approach takes a more critical perspective on rational
actormodels and stresses the influence norms and culture might have on individual preferences (e.g.
Whitley 2007). Both schools of thought claim to have predictive abilities. While the business systems
approach generally is associated with the expectation that globalization will force a uniformization of
business systems, the varieties of capitalism approach predicts that the varieties of capitalist models tend to
maintain their specificities to retain their competitive advantage.
More recent interpretations of comparative political economics are often methodologically closer to sociology
and more cautious about their predictive abilities. Evolutionary accounts of change appear or routine-based
models of human action are more frequently applied and trust and emotions, social structures, institutions
and culture are considered important factors that contribute to overcome coordination problems and shape
preferences (Lewis and Steinmo 2012; Streeck 2010; Wilson and Gowdy 2013).
Depending on the chosen methodological and theoretical approach, if defined as a social science of
governance structures, socioeconomics could be seen as having a large thematic overlap with or being a
part of political economy.
3.3 Socioeconomics as a science of society
A third conceptualization of socioeconomics is far more encompassing and defines its field of study as a
science of human society and social change. Located in the tradition of scholars such as Friedrich Engels,
Auguste Comte, Max Weber, and Georg Simmel socioeconomics as theory of human society would
distinguish itself from modern sociology by assigning the economic system and its endogenous dynamic a
central culture- and structure-forming role in social development. While still a somewhat marginal strand in
social science, this version of the socioeconiomic endeavor annexes itself to European traditions of social
sciences that engage social theory more deeply into their approach than the more positivistic American
tradition of sociology.
Modern economic sociology is generally limited to understanding the nature and relevancy of the embedding
of economic activity. It only very recently began to take account of the considerable endogenous dynamics of
capitalist economic systems (Deeg and Jackson 2007; Sewell 2008; Deutschmann 2008, 2009) and
influences it might take on social spheres outside the sphere of economic activity. But modern sociology in
general does not consider the economy to play an important role in other spheres of social life and in social
However, one might argue that social change in capitalist societies is strongly driven by endogenous
dynamics of the economy, as all other spheres of social life - by the medium money depend on the
generation of wealth in the economy (Beckert 2009). Thus, perhaps the economy should be seen in a
dominant position in the explanation of social change (cf.: Deutschmann 2008; Dore 2010). Streeck, for
instance, argues that increasing imbalances and crises-laden developments destabilized the past-World War
Two social arrangement of organized capitalism. That initiated or contributed strongly to the stepwise
prioritization of the logic of markets as general pattern of social coordination and to the diffusion into and
pervasion of culture by the norms, symbols and cognitive frames of capitalism. Capitalism extended its reach
far beyond the genuinely economic and transforms even the daily life of the individual actor. The functional
requirements of the economy are however confronted with resistances in the non-economic spheres of social
life. Thus, the context of economic activity emerges from the interaction of the transforming imperatives of
economic life and resistances in its cultural-institutional embedding (Beckert 2009, 2012; Streeck 2009).
A socioeconomic analysis of social change integrates such processes into the context of their historical
development. This would not only explain the historical specificities of a particular economic system, but by
making use of sociological theories of social change - open up perspectives for an encompassing
explanation of social change. Socioeconomics, understood in such a manner, as a broad approach to
explore the sources, processes and regularities of social change is of course still part of the disciplinary
context of sociology. But stressing the endogenous dynamics of the capitalist economic system as a source
of change would make it an identifiable social scientific project, clearly distinguishable from the majority of
sociological research. It would also integrate socioeconomics with social theory, because any such inclusive
understanding of social change must build on a developed understanding of what constitutes society.
This conception of the socioeconomic endeavor is perhaps well suited to a European research context.
Sociology in North America, as Ben Agger argues, has generally been resistant to grand theory and social
theory mostly occurs outside sociology in fields as comparative literature, history, and cultural studies (Agger,
2006). Germany and Britain have strong traditions of integrating social theory into sociology or a more
multidisciplinary social science. A generally accepted European social theory has not been constituted yet
and major differences between the national traditions prevail. In the 1980s European social theorists such
as Bourdieu, Habermas, Luhmann, Giddens had made attempts to resurrect grand social theory with a
new systematic theory of modernity. But these projects’ results such as the theory of social fields, of
communicative action, system theory, structuration theory to name a few though remarkable contributions
to sociological theory, did not develop to a new systematic social theory that has gained general acceptance.
The socioeconomic perspective on its subject, combined with the interdisciplinary nature of past
socioeconomic research and its limited predetermination of methods and theory could make socioeconomics
mold well into this academic lacuna. It could arrange well with current efforts in social theorizing, as these
are characterized by post-disciplinary developments, a rather heterogeneous plurality of theoretical and
methodological approaches and a concern with transformatory social processes and post-national
developments (on recent social theorizing see: Delantely 2006; Delantely and Turner 2011).
3.4 Socioeconomic Perspectives in other Fields
In some fields elements of socioeconomic thinking are applied to countervail the influence of neoclassical
methodology, but they will not become an exclusive domain for socioeconomics. I will briefly touch upon two
examples here. In both these contexts socioeconomics is clearly pursued as a normative and applied
In In a capitalist societyMartin Sklar argues to say marketsor businessis to say the law’.” (Sklar 1988:
86). Thus, unless socioeconomics does not recognize law as an object of inquiry in its own right, it will fail to
adequately understand or explain stateeconomy interaction in capitalist democracies (Stryker 2003). On the
other hand, so far law has been quite reluctant to amend itself by insights of the social sciences and
humanities, even though few scholars would deny that law - as a science concerned with human behavior -
should not try to do without them. While sociology and political science did not gain much influence,
economics was more successful. But the action-theoretical foundation of orthodox economics the homo
oeconomicus - is seen with reservations by many scholars of law (see: Lüdemann 2007). Thus law has
begun to open itself to the behavioral sciences and some suggest a deeper involvement of socioeconomics
in law and expect that a benefit could be a fairer and more effective legal system, as it could be built on a
more realistic conception of economic life (Harrison 1999).
Socioeconomics applied in law investigates interrelationships between law and economic and social change.
Naturally the role of institutionalist method and theory is strong in this discourse. But findings from
psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, and economics leave their mark as well as it
encompasses perspectives of behavioral, neo-institutional, traditional institutional, and post-Keynesian
economics (see: Dallas 2003; Harrison 1999). In the socioeconomic view of law regulation provides crucial
foundations of a market economy, in contrast to the neoclassical economic view of markets. It goes beyond
classical transaction-costs institutionalism, because, as Calabresi notes, regulation is “not concerned only, or
even primarily with reduction of costs, ‘given tastes.’ It is fundamentally concerned with shaping tastes.”
(Calabresi, 1985: 84) Integrating socioeconomics in the study of law means to recognize that laws have a
cultural impact as they change beliefs and the internalization of norms. Attention to this function of law
suggests questions not embraced by other legal approaches. It is supposed to help lawmakers to take
account of the importance fairness has for the law. Procedural fairness enhances the satisfaction with, and
legitimacy of, legal authorities. Rather than to rely solely on theoretical constructs laws needs to take account
of socio-economic knowledge.
Management sciences have a stronger transdisiplinary tradition than law. But there is a also a strong
traditional current, emerged out of Taylorist scientific management. It is characterized by an inward focus on
the firm and special attention paid to cost cutting, the division of labor, and the enforcement of rules by
means of control and command (Kreitner 2002; Robbins and Coulter 2003). But the last thirty to forty years
saw the rise of some new or formerly less influential currents and concepts.
A socioeconomic business administration tries to understand the inner structure of a business organization
and its behavior against other collective or individual actors not without a proper recognition of its
embeddedness in institutions, norms and culture. It seeks to apply more realistic action-theoretical models
and less reductionist situation analysis. In behavioral accounting, behavioral controllingand behavioral
operations researchthe definition of a-priori presumptions is replaced by empiricalpsychological methods
of behavioral economics and the assumption that human rationality is bounded. Social determinants of
individual action are more strongly considered in organization science, in human resources, and marketing.
As a key subdiscipline of management science, organizational development seeks to recognize principles
and mechanisms of change in the environment of a business organization and to open up perspectives for
foresightful planning, usually with a stronger focus on employment relations (see: Lueger and Froschauer
2011). It draws on sociology and industrial and organizational psychology (Buono and Savall 2007) and -
more recently - partly explicit references were made to socioeconomic methodology and perspective (e.g.
Verstegen 2011; Conbere and Heorhiadi 2011). It resorts to perspectives and methods of genuine
sociological analysis, i.e. seeks to understand context-dependent meaning (rather than a priori-utility
maximization assumptions) the relevancy of social and emotional boundaries, norms and organization-
specific cultures, expectations of expectations (“Erwartungserwartungen”), and power-relations. The sources
of performance are searched on the meso-level of teams and structures rather than on the micro-level alone.
Actors, finally, are not any more considered invariable and individually to observe factors in organizational
processes, but their preferences and options to act are deemed as much a subject to the influences of social
structures as actors influence the structures themselves (Schettgen 2007). The overlaps with new economic
sociology and organization sociology are significant. In particular the latter two fields have a focus on
industrial relations and the internal structures of business organizations as well. But socioeconomic business
economics pursues its agenda with a clear mission, to describe ideal conditions and to suggest policies to
boost the value generating capacities of the organization in question.
4 Conclusion: What is Socioeconomics?
This paper is not intended to suggest a concept for an unified socioeconomics and concludes with only a few
and moderate considerations about optional ways to advance a consolidation of socioeconomics. Rather I
tried to contour the topography of socioeconomic’s communicative context in terms of distinguishing its key
subjects of interest, methods and theories. The background of this effort is concerns that socioeconomics will
perhaps fail to develop the coherency that is necessary to sustain and to become a viable vehicle of scientific
progress. Socioeconomics is not a discipline. According to Stichweh (2001) an academic discipline depends
on a homogenous communicative context, a generally accepted corpus of knowledge, a set of questions,
paradigmatic problem-solving strategies and a career path and socialization in discipline-specific institutions.
Socioeconomics is clearly lacking a strong institutional platform. While a few journals and scientific
associations have dedicated themselves to providing a platform for socioeconomics research it has only
weak anchoring in universities and research institutions and despite some still isolated endeavors (e.g.:
Michel Oris et al. 2014) there has been little effort undertaken to develop any such foundations. It is more
difficult to assess socioeconomics’ intellectual assets.
We find that there are a number of assets that are not optimally linked to each other. At first, the term
socioeconomicsis potentially of significant value, as it is in wide use, unquestionably highly visible and
attracting attention. It could be an effective instrument in scientific discourse. But as it is not unambiguously
and exclusively tied to any of the schools of thought and discourses reviewed above there is some danger
that its potential might be lost for the development of social science.
Secondly, there are a number of highly visible at least methodologically often elaborated research agendas
that play key roles in fields such as new economic sociology and political economy, business administration
and perhaps in a number of other contexts. But they cannot easily be combined to a new unified paradigm in
the engagement with economic or other social phenomena. Current socioeconomics is perhaps most
adequately described as a research tradition(Laudan 1977), as this concept is less demanding with respect
to the specificity of the theoretical-methodological content than Kuhn’s paradigm or alternative conceptions
such as Lakatos (1978) ‘research program’. Lakatos thought of a manifest core of theories, sequentially
building one on another and constituting the substance of the program and a disprovable „protective belt“ of
auxiliary hypotheses that protect the “core” from falsification. A Laudanian research tradition does not consist
of a rigid sequence of theories, but its core components are only loosely connoted to each other and not tied
to a specific discipline. The concept of embedding is a shared point of reference for different sets of
methods, theories and research questions that have their domain in different disciplines. But all accord to
each other at least with respect to their perspective on their subject, which is not to approach economic
phenomena and the economic sphere of social life in disregard of its relation to other spheres of social life.
To support the development of socioeconomics into a coherent more viable entity, it should be arranged
around some unifying tools and possibly a general theory of socio-economics. A general theory might be the
result of a deeper engagement of socioeconomics with social theory. It could focus on the question “What is
society?” and the problem how to explain social change. But this is an ambitious aim and socioeconomics
might have difficulties to preserve a role independent from sociology.
A second problematic point rarely addressed in the existing discussion on the future of socioeconomics is the
lack of a clear understanding about the purpose it should serve. In the disciplines affiliated with
socioeconomics or wherein its perspective is operationalized quite different understandings about the
purpose of social science are pursued.
Economics, including at least many heterodox approaches, is understood as a normative science in first
instance, to define ideals and it is expected to provide recommendations. Those who conceptualize
socioeconomics as a reformed economics and look at the implications the embedding in social networks or
norms and culture or emotions have for economic action do so in an effort to confront the normative
implications of the homo oeconomicus.
Socioeconomics as a whole could adopt the normative mission of economics. This is what Etzioni had in
mind, when suggesting that socioeconomics should engage to devise remedies against low savings rates or
reveal what structures maximize the efficiency of markets (Etzioni 1988: 211). These ideas are mostly in line
with the program of economics: maximization of material abundance. Other suggestions are less closely
associated with the economic program. Among them there is to devise guidelines for a fairer legal system,
that could be developed from a more realistic conception of economic life or a readjustment of the role of
markets and individual utility-maximization versus civic engagement (Stern 1993). Hattwick advocates the
idea of a „humanistic socioeconomics“ as a general science set up to improve the conditions of human life in
general (see: Lutz 2006, p. 304).
But to become a normative science, socioeconomics would have to engage into a discussion that had
initiated the splitting off of modern German sociology from the Staatswissenschaften (German for "political
science") after the 'Werturteilsstreit' (German for "value judgment dispute") had emerged in the Verein für
Socialpolitik. Socioeconomics would ultimately have to legitimize normative aims philosophically, because
even if behavioral sciences and anthropology provide us with unambiguous empirically founded evidence
about what humans want and need, we still have to decide what the individual deserves.
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Twentieth-century (Outer) Mongolia transitioned from a dynasty to anarchy, tribalism, socialism, military occupation, theocracy, communism to a capitalistic representative democracy as Mongols survived on an ancient grain, proso (common) millet. After social and economic collapse, American millet varieties were introduced and compared to locally sourced varieties comparing planting dates, irrigation rates and timing in a desert environment.
... As such, socioeconomic status is an important determinant to consider in pandemic research. The term socioeconomic status is an umbrella term used to describe empirically measurable social or economic factors such as social class, education, income, and health [22,23]. These factors are applied in a variety of ways to investigate or control their effect on a given outcome such as health outcomes and have consistently found to be statistically significant [24][25][26]. ...
BACKGROUND The COVID-19 pandemic represents the most unprecedented global challenge in recent times. As the global community attempts to manage the pandemic long-term, it is pivotal to understand what factors drive prevalence rates, and to predict the future trajectory of the virus. OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to investigate whether socioeconomic indicators support in predicting year-on-year COVID-19 prevalence rates in a cross-sectional sample of 182 countries. Using a number of supervised machine learning techniques, results were evaluated and compared to determine the most accurate predictive algorithm. METHODS This research applied three supervised regression techniques: linear regression, random forest, and AdaBoost. Results were evaluated using k-fold cross validation and subsequently compared to analyse algorithmic suitability. The analysis involved two models. Firstly, the algorithms were trained to predict 2021 COVID-19 prevalence using only 2020 infection data. Following this, socioeconomic indicators were added as features and the algorithms were trained again. The Human Development Index metrics of life expectancy, mean years of schooling, expected years of schooling, and Gross National Income were used to approximate socioeconomic status. RESULTS Using 2020 infection prevalence rates as a lone predictor to predict 2021 prevalence rates, the average predictive accuracy of the algorithms was low (R2=0.562). When the socioeconomic indicators were added alongside 2020 prevalence rates as features, average predictive performance improved considerably (R2=0.724) and all error statistics decreased. This suggested that adding socioeconomic indicators alongside 2020 infection data optimised prediction of COVID-19 prevalence to a considerable degree. Linear regression was the strongest learner with R2=0.713 on the first model and R2=0.762 on the second model, followed by random forest (0.533 and 0.733) and AdaBoost (0.441 and 0.676). CONCLUSIONS Understanding the impact of socioeconomic status at national level will assist with future pandemic management. This paper puts forward new considerations about the application of machine learning techniques to understand and combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
... Currently, attention is paid to the socioeconomic trend of company development based on the paradigm of sustainable development, the social responsibility of organizations and quality in capital management [57,[92][93][94]. Its representatives see, in the model of sustainable competitiveness, ways to counteract the disastrous effects of the pandemic, in which the structural relations of capital, the efficiency of its use, and innovation secure and strengthen the resistance of companies to future crises, including pandemic situations. ...
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This paper deals with a very important topic concerning the adaptive actions of food retail entities, operating in a network model, during threats caused by a pandemic. The aim of the study was to identify and characterize the actions taken by food retail chain entities during the COVID-19 pandemic, in the context of the food security of consumers in Poland (using the example of Wielkopolska). A basic research hypothesis (H0) was generated, stating that the adaptation activities of food retail chain actors varied during the COVID-19 pandemic in Poland with regard to ensuring consumer food security. It was detailed in five sub-hypotheses. In their verification and in the realization of the aim of the study, the methods of literature study and other secondary sources, and induction, survey, comparative, visualization, modeling and descriptive statistics, were used. The research results include (a) the authors' diagnosis of threats to the food security of companies in the food system resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and applied ways of adaptation to the new requirements of the environment, based on secondary sources; (b) analysis of data from the empirical survey conducted by the authors in November 2020 on the adaptive actions of companies, among managers/owners of food retail stores of a selected network of a particular franchise type in Greater Poland; (c) the construction of an empirical model of the typical behaviors of food retail units in the chain under study, distinguishing three of their types in the model; and (d) suggestions concerning the directions of future scientific research areas. The article was prepared following the stream of sustainable development theory.
... Traditional socioeconomic studies how economic activities and their context shape social behaviors, and vice versa [13]. These studies reveal how different behaviors are characteristic of different social strata. ...
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Stratifying behaviors based on demographics and socioeconomic status is crucial for political and economic planning. Traditional methods to gather income and demographic information, like national censuses, require costly large-scale surveys both in terms of the financial and the organizational resources needed for their successful collection. In this study, we use data from social media to expose how behavioral patterns in different socioeconomic groups can be used to infer an individual’s income. In particular, we look at the way people explore cities and use topics of conversation online as a means of inferring individual socioeconomic status. Privacy is preserved by using anonymized data, and abstracting human mobility and online conversation topics as aggregated high-dimensional vectors. We show that mobility and hashtag activity are good predictors of income and that the highest and lowest socioeconomic quantiles have the most differentiated behavior across groups.
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Nuclear power plant (NPP) disasters are complex and dreaded scenarios. However, existing recovery plans presuppose that citizens will return to live in decontaminated areas following evacuation. Research on natural disasters has shown that high socioeconomic status (SES) influences people to continue living in their homes in recovery areas. This study examines the association between SES and citizens’ risk attitudes to a radiological emergency scenario and demonstrates instead that high SES implies a greater likeliness to move away from the accident-affected area. This is substantiated by survey data of Swedish citizens’ (N = 2,291) attitudes to a scenario where an NPP accident, evacuation, and remediation occur. More specifically, the study provides statistically significant results to show that high income is associated with less worry over ionizing radiation. Still, high-income individuals also appear to be more likely to move if their neighborhood is affected by radioactive fallout than low-income individuals. Moreover, the results for education show that low education is associated with remaining in the decontamination area, and the relation between education and worry over ionizing radiation provides some support for assumptions about the “anxious middle.” Overall, this study finds that decontamination is complicated by a majority of people preferring permanent relocation as well as by indications that more resourceful citizens are generally more likely to leave the area permanently, which may impede the fulfillment of state agencies’ plans for recovery.
Technical Report
يستعرض هذا المساق تطورات الاقتصاد-الاجتماعي التي تحدث في العالم وما يسبب عدم استقرارها. سيقوم الطلاب بتقييم التحديات التي تواجه واقعهم الاجتماعي والاقتصادي وسيقومون بتنفيذ مشاريع لتلبية الاحتياجات الاجتماعية الحالية والتحديات المستقبلية. وسيتعرف الطلاب أيضا على الفارق في مفاهيم النمو والتنمية والتطور في الاقتصاد-الاجتماعي وطرق استدامتها من خلال الحوار العميق والورش العملية كجزء من المقرر.
Research Proposal
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تفاصيل برامج الدراسات العليا (الدكتوراه والماجستير والدبلوم العالي) في اقتصاد الالهام بعد اعتمادها من وزير التعليم العالي والبحث العلمي (السودان)
This study examines the pertinency and materiality of Malaysia’s affiliation with Bangladesh. It presents the picture of deep reciprocal relationships in trading and investment, workforce issues, and the societal, religious and cultural exchange between Malaysia and Bangladesh that deserve elevated research to get ideas of a further snapshot. The historiographic approach and literature-based qualitative method apply to this research and uses written primary and secondary sources to gather information. Several published texts and archival documents examine to achieve the objective. In terms of significance, the result of this study would craft a narrative of a new spear of the economic relationships, societal circumstance, and cultural contact that especially evident during Tun Mahathir administration when he served Malaysia as the fourth Prime Minister that would deserve supplementary study. Furthermore, it would serve to understand the characteristics of the subsequent engagements of Malaysia with Bangladesh.
The effects of climate change are already being felt in the twenty-first century, with increased intensity of storms, including hurricanes and typhoons, wildfires, melting glaciers, increased desertification, and rising sea levels. These impacts will only grow in the coming decades, even if the world’s countries are successful in mitigating climate change through decarbonization. As a result, individuals, organizations, localities, and nations will need to implement adaptation measures, such as erecting seawalls, raising homes, improving building codes, managing stormwater, changing agricultural crops and practices, and relocating individual buildings or even entire communities. This chapter describes adaptation planning and adaptation experience in the context of theoretical frameworks defined by the international standards ISO 14090 (ISO 2019) ISO 14090 Adaptation to climate change—principles, requirements and guidelines. Accessed on 28 May 2021) and ISO 14091 (ISO 2021) ISO 14091 adaptation to climate change—guidelines on vulnerability, impacts and risk assessment. Accessed 28 May 2021). It outlines good practice approaches for planning to live with climate change impacts and describes some measures that governments and organizations have taken to adapt to climate change.
The instability of the world financial system, starkly revealed in the recent debacle, is not the only problem it poses. The secularly increasing dominance of that financial system over the real economy is in itself a phenomenon that needs examining. The paper traces the source of this increasing dominance not just (a) to the increasingly leveraged and increasingly incomprehensible forms of intermediation between savers and those in the real economy who need credit and insurance, but also (b) to the increasingly universal doctrine that maximizing «shareholder value» is the sole raison d'être of the firm and (c) the promotion by governments of an «equity culture». Some of the social consequences of financialization are exacerbating inequalities, greater insecurity, misdirection of talent and the erosion of trust.
The scientific discipline, as the primary unit of internal differentiation of science, is an invention of nineteenth century society. There exists a long semantic prehistory of disciplina as a term for the ordering of knowledge for purposes of instruction in schools and universities. But only the nineteenth century established real disciplinary communication systems. They are based on specialization of scientists, role differentiation in the organizations of science, the emergence of standard forms of scientific publication, and the rise of the research imperative which demands an incessant search for novelties. All these structural changes coalesce in the disciplinary community as a new type of communication system in science. After that the discipline functions as unit of structure formation in the social system of science, in systems of higher education, as a subject domain for teaching and learning in schools, and finally, as a designation of occupational and professional roles. Although the processes of differentiation in science have been going on ever since, the scientific discipline as a basic unit of structure formation is stabilized by these plural roles in different functional contexts of modern society. Finally, the individual discipline is embedded in an internal environment of other disciplines. The continuous mutual observation and interaction of these disciplines is the most important factor in the dynamics of modern science.
Der Band fasst die neueren Publikationen sowie einige Originalbeiträge des Autors zur Arbeits- und Wirtschaftssoziologie zusammen, in denen eine gesellschaftstheoretische Interpretation kapitalistischer Dynamik entwickelt wird. Zentrale Themen sind die Wahlverwandtschaft zwischen Kapitalismus und Religion und der daraus abgeleitete dynamische Ansatz der Analyse wirtschaftlicher Institutionen. Darüber hinaus geht es darum, diesen Ansatz für die Erklärung aktueller Transformationsprozesse der Arbeitswelt und der Finanzmärkte fruchtbar zu machen.
The contribution of social psychology to designing HR performance management systems. - In: Sozioökonomische Organisationsforschung / Andreas Bergknapp ... (Hrsg.). - Mering u.a : Hampp, 2008. - S. 24-45. - (Schriftenreihe Organisation und Personal ; 18)