Table of Contents

The Elgar Companion to Social Economics, Second Edition

The Elgar Companion to Social Economics, Second Edition

Edited by John B. Davis and Wilfred Dolfsma

Social economics is a dynamic and growing field that emphasizes the key roles social values play in the economy and economic life. This second edition of the Elgar Companion to Social Economics revises all chapters from the first edition, and adds important new chapters to reflect the expansion and development of social economics. The expert contributions explain a wide range of recent developments across different subject areas and topics in the field, mapping out possible directions of future social economic research. Social economics treats the economy and economics as embedded in a web of social and ethical relationships. It considers economics and ethics as essentially connected, and adds values such as justice, fairness, dignity, well-being, freedom, and equality to the standard emphasis on efficiency. This book will be a leading resource and guide to social economics for many years to come.

Chapter 11: Culture, values and institutions

Paul D. Bush

Subjects: business and management, business ethics and trust, economics and finance, institutional economics, methodology of economics, public sector economics, social policy and sociology, economics of social policy

Extract

The concept of culture is an idea that receives a variety of formulations across the broad reach of the humanities, fine arts and social sciences, defying all claims of exclusive use by any particular academic specialization. In the social sciences, cultural anthropology is perhaps the first discipline to embrace it as a fundamental principle of organized research. It has substantially influenced the other social sciences, providing both theoretical and empirical insights into the nature of culture. The first coherent treatment of the role of culture in economic affairs was presented by Thorstein B. Veblen in his classic study, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899). Following Veblen and the evidence supplied by cultural anthropology, American institutional economists have incorporated the concept of culture both in their critique of mainstream (neoclassical) economics and in their formulation of institutional economic analysis. The culture concept is the diagnostic feature of institutional economics which sets it apart from the economic orthodoxy found in the mainstream economic literature (Junker, 1968, p. 201; Hamilton, 1970, pp. 71–2; Mayhew, 1994, p. 116; Hodgson, 2000, p. 327). It is for this reason that the present discussion of culture, values and institutions is couched in terms of the methodological and substantive arguments developed by economists writing in the tradition of American institutional economics, which will be referred to here as the ‘original institutional economics’ (OIE).

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