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 29: Saving, the stock market and pension systems

Martha A. Starr

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


Saving, investment and pensions are avenues by which households build up claims to future income and consumption. Such claims are important in a number of respects: they broaden people’s options; reduce their insecurities about material living standards; and enhance their ability to live with dignity in old age. As such, understanding the multiplicity of factors that shape how people save, invest and acquire pension rights is important for understanding their access to well-being and the ways in which social arrangements improve or undercut that access. In the traditional lifecycle view of saving, households maximize utility over the lifecycle, resulting in a profile whereby they borrow when young, save in mid-life, and spend down their assets when older; then total household saving is aggregated up from the behavior of independent households. Social economists share the criticisms of this perspective found in other fields, including feminist economics, behavioral economics, post-Keynesian economics and economic methodology.

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