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Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern societies progress, stagnate, or regress because of their local or regional economy, or the global economy. Societies are divided into three groups: social, cultural and economic. It also refers to the ways that social and economic factors influence the environment.



“Socioeconomics” is sometimes used as an umbrella term for various areas of inquiry. The term “social economics” may refer broadly to the "use of economics in the study of society". [1] More narrowly, contemporary practice considers behavioral interactions of individuals and groups through social capital and social "markets" (not excluding, for example, sorting by marriage) and the formation of social norms. [2] In the relation of economics to social values. [3]

A distinct supplemental usage describes social economics as "a discipline studying the reciprocal relationship between economic science on the one hand and social philosophy, ethics, and human dignity on the other" toward social reconstruction and improvement [4] or as also emphasizing multidisciplinary methods from such fields as sociology, history, and political science. [5] In criticizing mainstream economics for its alleged faulty philosophical premises (for example the pursuit of self-interest) and neglect of dysfunctional economic relationships, such advocates tend to classify social economics as heterodox. [6]

Socioeconomic Factors of Environmental Change

Socioeconomic system at the regional level refers to the way social and economic factors influence one another in local communities and households. These systems have a significant impact on the environment through deforestation, pollution, natural disasters, and energy production and use. Through telecoupled systems, these interactions can lead to global impact. Local economies, food insecurity, and environmental hazards are all negative effects that are a direct outcome of socioeconomic systems.


  • In Pakistan, deforestation is a major cause of environmental change. Deforestation can be attributed to population growth, change in household dynamics, and resource management. Forests are traditionally owned by the state and control resource management which means their government is responsible for the development of forested land. Between 1970 and 2011, the tree coverage decreased by 20.6%. [7] The decrease can be attributed to community development and increased use of resources. The issue of deforestation in Pakistan is contributing to climate change because the wood is frequently burned and used as timber fuel which emits CO2 into the atmosphere. Deforestation is also happening due to population growth and the expansion of farmland which creates feedback loops. When forests are cut down to begin agriculture practices, soil degradation often takes place and leads to further issues like crop yields, which can contribute to food insecurity and a decrease in the economy.
  • Due to deforestation, animals often lose their habitats and vegetation is significantly decreased. Habitat loss is common when deforestation happens because not only are the trees being cut down, but the land trees previously inhibited suffer extreme soil erosion due to lack of protection from the tree coverage. Animals' struggle to survive is further hindered due to high temperatures in places where tree coverage is lost. [8] Local community economies are affected by this because they depend on these resources to drive their local markets and feed their families. Modern medicine is another thing affected by deforestation because several medicines are derived from plants found in these areas. Loss of these resources means a loss of profit to local communities who depend on these natural entities for profit. This can have a global effect by creating shortages in medicine worldwide.


  • Ocean pollution has massively affected small fishing communities around the world. When the ocean water gets polluted, it has a range of effects on the ocean life. Fish absorb mercury from coal mining and fossil fuel burning which makes them toxic to eat. Food insecurity is a socioeconomic impact of toxic marine life because small coastal communities depend on fishing to drive their local markets. [9] Big companies produce this pollution as a spillover system, which affects the fish, which then affects the surrounding communities.

Natural disasters

  • Natural disasters are becoming more severe as the environment is shifting. In the Western hemisphere, landslides are becoming more prevalent and severe. As communities continue to expand and develop, landscapes are disrupted by human interactions and unstable hillside areas begin to crumple under these pressures. [10] These effects can be responsible for habitat loss for animals, home loss for humans, and complete destruction of industrial establishments. This can affect local economies just as any other natural disaster because it disrupts the entire flow of communities. They can be divided into private and public, for example, a highway being demolished by a landslide would be considered a public cost. A local farm that lost all of its crops due to a landslide would be considered a private cost. Urbanization and deforestation are primarily responsible for the increasing number of landslides in small communities. [11]


  • Another socioeconomic factor is the change in the household family. The nuclear family is traditionally two parents and their children living under the same roof. In the past, households frequently inhibited extended family members such as grandparents. With the shift in the number of people under one roof, there has been an increase in direct energy consumption. [12] Fewer people per household means more households. People are shifting towards single person households as our societal norms evolve. More households mean more energy being used to do things like heat the house, power more TVs, and use more lights. It also means more geographical land space being taken up by people which can lead to further urbanization of rural communities. This has been a shift in communities across the globe.


  • Deforestation, natural disasters, pollution, and energy consumption explicitly exhibit how human and natural systems are integrated systems. They are influenced by government policies and contextual factors which often have a more negative impact on the environment. [13] Human interactions with the environment create a domino effect. These socioeconomic systems are all interconnected and produce effects from the local level, all the way up to the global level.

See also


  1. John Eatwell, Murray Milgate, and Peter Newman, [1987] 1989. Social Economics: The New Palgrave, p. xii. Topic-preview links, pp. v-vi.
  2. Becker, Gary S. (November–December 1974). "A theory of social interactions" (PDF). Journal of Political Economy . Chicago Journals. 82 (6): 1063–1093. doi:10.1086/260265. JSTOR   1830662.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) Pdf.
       • _____ and Kevin M. Murphy, 2001, Social Economics: Market Behavior in a Social Environment. Description and table of contents. Harvard University Press.
       • Mariano Tommasi and Kathryn Ierulli, ed., 1995. The New Economics of Human Behavior, Cambridge. Description and preview.
      Steven N. Durlauf and H. Peyton Young 2001. "The New Social Economics" in Social Dynamics, ch. 1, pp. 1-14. Preview. MIT Press.
       • Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume, 2008. The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics , 2nd Edition:
    "social interactions (empirics)" by Yannis M. Ioannides. Abstract.
    "social interactions (theory)" by José A. Scheinkman. Abstract.
  3. • 'Relation of Economics to Social Values' is the corresponding title of JEL: A13 in the Journal of Economic Literature classification codes.
       • Jess Benhabib, Alberto Bisin, and Matthew Jackson, ed., 2011. Handbook of Social Economics, Elsevier:
         Vol. 1A: Part 1. Social Preferences, ch. 1-11; Part 2. Social Actions, ch. 12-17. Description & Contents links and chapter-preview links.
         Vol. 1B: Part 3. Peer and Neighborhood Effects, ch. 18-25. Description & Contents links and chapter-preview links
  4. Mark A. Lutz, 2009. "Social economics," in Jan Peil and Irene van Staveren, ed., Handbook of Economics and Ethics, p. 516. [Pp. 516-22.] Edward Elgar Publishing.
       • _____, 1999. Economics for the Common Good: Two Centuries of Social Economic Thought in the Humanist Tradition, Routledge. Preview.
  5. Davis, John B.; Dolfsma, Wilfred (2008), "Social economics: an introduction and a view of the field", in Davis, John B.; Dolfsma, Wilfred (eds.), The Elgar companion to social economics, Cheltenham, UK Northampton, Massachusetts: Edward Elgar, pp. 1–7, ISBN   9781848442771.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) Preview. Description.
      International Journal of Social Economics. Description.
       Socio-Economic Review .
  6. • Edward O'Boyle, ed., 1996. Social Economics: Premises, Findings and Policies, pp. ii and ix.
       • Tony Lawson, 2006. "The Nature of Heterodox Economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, 30(4), pp. 483-505. Alternate access copy (press +).
       • Frederic S. Lee, 2008. "heterodox economics," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics , 2nd Ed., v.4, pp. 1–6. Abstract.
  7. Rahman, Fazlur; Haq, Fazlul; Tabassum, Iffat; Ullah, Ihsan (February 2014). "Socio-economic drivers of deforestation in Roghani Valley, Hindu-Raj Mountains, Northern Pakistan". Journal of Mountain Science. 11 (1): 167–179. doi:10.1007/s11629-013-2770-x. ISSN   1672-6316. S2CID   140727337.
  8. "Effects of Deforestation | The Pachamama Alliance". Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  9. Schmutter, Katherine; Nash, Merinda; Dovey, Liz (2016-05-13). "Ocean acidification: assessing the vulnerability of socioeconomic systems in Small Island Developing States". Regional Environmental Change. 17 (4): 973–987. doi:10.1007/s10113-016-0949-8. ISSN   1436-3798. S2CID   156564723.
  10. Schuster, Robert L.; Highland, Lynn M. (2001). "Socioeconomic and environmental impacts of landslides in the Western Hemisphere". Open-File Report. doi:10.3133/ofr01276.
  11. Kjekstad, Oddvar; Highland, Lynn (2009), Sassa, Kyoji; Canuti, Paolo (eds.), "Economic and Social Impacts of Landslides", Landslides – Disaster Risk Reduction, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 573–587, doi:10.1007/978-3-540-69970-5_30, ISBN   978-3-540-69966-8
  12. Campbell, Malcolm (November 2012). "Urban Consumption,edited by Peter W. Newton". Urban Research & Practice. 5 (3): 369–371. doi:10.1080/17535069.2012.727571. ISSN   1753-5069. S2CID   155614481.
  13. Liu, J.; Dietz, T.; Carpenter, S. R.; Alberti, M.; Folke, C.; Moran, E.; Pell, A. N.; Deadman, P.; Kratz, T.; Lubchenco, J.; Ostrom, E. (2007-09-14). "Complexity of Coupled Human and Natural Systems". Science. 317 (5844): 1513–1516. Bibcode:2007Sci...317.1513L. doi: 10.1126/science.1144004 . ISSN   0036-8075. PMID   17872436.

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