October, 2015

Social Economy as an Extension of the Austrian Research Program

purchase the book

The Oxford Handbook of Austrian Economics is available through Oxford University Press.

Contemporary Austrian scholars have attempted to develop a research program in social economy (including a focus on mental models, generalized norms, social networks, and culture) to complement the school’s already well-developed research program in political economy. Rather than settling on a single approach or adopting a single perspective, however, they have pursued a number of different strategies. As a result, Austrian contributions to understanding how social factors affect economic action have yet to be systematized as part of a coherent social economy research program. The aim of this chapter is to fill that gap. Further, we will argue that although it is broadly interdisciplinary, a social economy research program is one in which Austrian economics has a particularly important role to play given the school’s emphasis on developing an economics of meaning and its focus on the discovery role that markets play in generating widespread social coordination.