[M] Social Economics

Coordinators: Wilfred Dolfsma
University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Helena Lopes
Lisbon University Institute, Portugal

Social economics discusses how the economy relates to society and issues of social justice, and what this implies for economic theory and policy. Its broad aims are developing a better understanding of the role of social values in economic life and aligning economic institutions and policies with ethical principles.

The questions addressed are:

  • How do self-interested and 'pro-social' motives combine in individual behaviour?
  • How do social interactions affect economic outcomes?
  • How do social and moral values influence economic behaviour?
  • Which are the (micro and macro-level) institutions that may contribute to an efficient, sustainable and just economy?
  • What economic conditions are requisite for a good society and how can they be achieved?
  • What are the ethical implications of economic theory and policy?

Social economics embraces the study of all the norms, values and institutions, constitutive of the social and economic world, that significantly influence economic processes and outcomes. The role of economic institutions and policies in improving people’s lives and well-being is particularly examined. Social economics may be viewed as an interdisciplinary and pluralist research program for the social sciences.

Contributions are welcome from different perspectives, in terms of the theoretical approaches followed (Institutionalist, Neo-Schumpeterian, Austrian, etc.) and of the disciplinary background involved (psychological, sociological, philosophical, etc.).