1.1 Approaches Towards Socioeconomics
The impulse which Etzioni gave was strong enough that the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) was founded in 1988 and that the Journal of behavioral economics, in 1990, was re-named into the Journal of Socio-Economics (23 years later, though, it was then re-renamed into the Journal of behavioral and experimental economics).(1) opening up the preferences; (2) modifying the assumption of rationality (again!) (3) the societal nestling of the market (a matter of institutions and political power); and (4) increasing the empirical, inductive elements of the study of economic behavior. (Etzioni 1986: 13)
Abell (2003) distinguishes two dimensions relevant for sociology, economics and (in his argument) socioeconomics. One are interactions on the micro level versus social (macro) conditions, the other dimension is whether to focus on the interactions and conditions themselves, or to look at the individual actions or the social outcome. Abler wants to “unite” sociologists and economists by suggestion to focus on the causalities of individual interactions and social conditions and to analyze how both impact on individual actions. He emphasizes the different starting points that economics and sociology have regarding models of the individual. In the economic view, “individuals are conceived as taking choices” (Abell 2003: 8), so they are considered as subjects, whereas for many sociologists “individuals are […] deriving their actions (or decision to act) from those with whom they interact” (Abell 2003: 9), so they are more considered as objects.
Karl H. Müller (Hollingsworth and Müller 2008; Müller 2015, 2016) has a historic approach, summarizing the classic, reductionist way of research as in classic physics as “science 1” and the modern, complex approach as found in life sciences as “science 2”. He sees the challenge for socioeconomists to enter the “science 2” mode by occupying themselves with complex networks, evolutionary theory and nanofoundations as a significant degree below the micro-level and by deliberately entering more meta studies to uncover the limitations of researchers themselves. Much more than anybody else, Müller tries to advance rather than define socioeconomics, i.e. his priority lies in the progress of the socioeconomic discourse rather than in the establishment of a clearly defined socioeconomics as an additional social science.
In a critique to the last approach, Boyer (2008: 744) suggests that “socio-economics is about the investigation of the origin, transformation and impact of governance structures in modern societies”. Socioeconomics should focus on the institutional arrangements people have given themselves to organize social, economic and political relations. Such analyses could result in formalizations of the models identified. It could also result in the identification of viable institutional settings on the macro level. His vision of socioeconomics also includes the added value from comparative historical institutional analysis.
1.2 The Interaction Approach
Turnover (billion US-$)
GDP (billion US-$)
Royal Dutch Shell
If the specificity of assets is high, this creates a strong mutual dependency which suggests a long-term hierarchical organization rather than short-term trade on markets. Courses in milking technology will rather be organized in an intra-firm setting than courses in presentations.
The more often a transaction takes place, the more transaction costs can be distributed. Frequent transactions may rather be organized within one unit and in a hierarchical framework, so that repeated negotiations may be avoided.
Uncertainty increases transaction costs, so that long-term hierarchies may be chosen to avoid such uncertainties.