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Why Sociology is Better Conditioned to Explain Economic Behaviour than Economics

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  • Henk Folmer

Abstract

This note analyzes the impacts of the fragmentation of economics into different schools of thought and of social science into the sub-disciplines economics, sociology and psychology. Fragmentation is based on the assumption that it is possible to split the set of an individual's behavioural motives into separable and disjoint subsets. However, this assumption runs counter to the insights in psychology. Moreover, even if splitting up were possible, the different subsets of motives finally need to be checked on consistency and weighted so as to obtain a comprehensive description and explanation. Another serious drawback is that specification of empirical models on the basis of one school of thought or one sub-discipline leads to omitted variables bias and hence biased estimators and tests. Finally, fragmentation may lead to a 'pick-and-mix package', whereby policy-makers and politicians feel free to use what suits them. The social rationality model together with the methodological approach prevalent in modern sociology is presented as a framework for integrating the schools of thought in economics and the social science sub-disciplines. Copyright 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Kyklos.

Volume (Year): 62 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 258-274

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Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:62:y:2009:i:2:p:258-274

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Cited by:
  1. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Li, Zhengtao & Folmer, Henk & Xue, Jianhong, 2014. "To what extent does air pollution affect happiness? The case of the Jinchuan mining area, China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 88-99.
  3. Danny Czamanski & Henk Folmer, 2011. "Introduction: some new methods in regional science," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 493-497, December.

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