Why Sociology is Better Conditioned to Explain Economic Behaviour than Economics

H. Folmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


his note analyzes the impacts of the fragmentation of economics into different schools of thought and of social science into the sub-disciplines economics, sociology and psychology. Fragmentation is based on the assumption that it is possible to split the set of an individual's behavioural motives into separable and disjoint subsets. However, this assumption runs counter to the insights in psychology. Moreover, even if splitting up were possible, the different subsets of motives finally need to be checked on consistency and weighted so as to obtain a comprehensive description and explanation. Another serious drawback is that specification of empirical models on the basis of one school of thought or one sub-discipline leads to omitted variables bias and hence biased estimators and tests. Finally, fragmentation may lead to a 'pick-and-mix package', whereby policy-makers and politicians feel free to use what suits them. The social rationality model together with the methodological approach prevalent in modern sociology is presented as a framework for integrating the schools of thought in economics and the social science sub-disciplines
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-274
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • utility
  • prices

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