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 39: Radical institutionalism

William M. Dugger

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


The 1960s produced a number of radical institutionalists who oppose violence, injustice and inequality, and support peaceful reconstruction of basic economic, political and social institutions. They define economics as ‘social provisioning’ and make wants and resources variables in their models instead of given parameters. They replace assumptions of unlimited individual wants and scarce resources with explanations involving endogenous causes of economic change. They replace ‘economic man’ with human beings living in real social economies (Davis, 2003; Dugger, 1989b; George, 2001; Gruchy, 1987; Kapp, 2011; O’Boyle, 1994). Lastly, this line of inquiry returns to fundamentals – to theoretical roots in Veblen and Marx – and proposes transforming, not just reforming, institutions to better serve the exploited and excluded (Stanfield, 1995; Dugger, 1992a, 1992b). The rest of this chapter is in three sections: (1) State of the literature; (2) Main issues and implications; and (3) New directions.

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