The goal of this Companion to Social Economics is to highlight the salient themes and leading ideas of contemporary social economics, particularly as they have been broadly developed in recent research, and as they are likely to contribute to and influence social economics and social economic policy in the future. The last two decades have seen a significant increase in social economics scholarship that has built on earlier foundations (cf. Lutz and Lux, 1988; Lutz, 1990a; Waters, 1993; O’Boyle, 2005), taken new directions, and expanded the horizon of social economics. This Companion emphasizes these more recent contributions in order to bring together in one place the fundamental themes and variety of approaches that motivate this new work. Social economics, it should be emphasized, has always included a wide range of perspectives and strategies, and indeed many contributors have multiple theoretical orientations and commitments (cf. Dugger, 1977; Lutz, 1990a; Samuels, 1990). This makes a volume such as this one much needed as it not only demonstrates new cross-connections and linkages between often very different types of research, but also makes it possible to see the changing shape of social economic investigation as a whole. Social economics has two related domains of investigation.
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