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." 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. In the latter, it studies the relation of economics to social values.
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 or as also emphasizing multidisciplinary methods from such fields as sociology, history, and political science. 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.
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 affects on a small community to affects 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.
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.
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