Social economics

Last call for papers: "Social Issues and Public Policy" at ASE/SEA meetings in November

Mark D. White

The Association for Social Economics will hold two sessions at the annual meeting of the Southern Economic Association to be held in New Orleans, LA at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, November 16-18, 2012 (Friday to Sunday). The theme for this year will be “Social Issues and Public Policy.” 

Please send your paper proposals to Aparna Mitra ([email protected]) by April 27, 2012.  For more information on the Conference, please visit the SEA website at or contact Aparna Mitra directly.

Call for abstracts: Edited volume on law and social economics

Mark D. White

Call for abstracts for edited volume

Law and Social Economics

To be edited by Mark D. White, College of Staten Island/CUNY

Planned for inclusion in the “Perspectives from Social Economics” series from Palgrave Macmillan

By its very nature, law is a social enterprise concerned with values such as justice, dignity, equality, and efficiency, but the economic approach to law (or law and economics) focuses on the last goal to the exclusion of the rest. Social economics emphasizes the importance of ethical values to economic theory, practice, and policy, but it has engaged very little with legal studies (or law and economics).

In 1993, Steven Medema published his article “Is There Life Beyond Efficiency? Elements of a Social Law and Economics” in the Review of Social Economy, in which he laid out various ways in which social economics could contribute to the economic analysis of law. In the twenty years since his article appeared, however, few have picked his baton, much less run with it.

This book is an attempt to rectify this situation. Proposals for chapters are welcome on any aspect of law-and-economics on which social economics can make a contribution, and are welcome from economists, legal scholars, and scholars from related disciplines.

Possible topics include:

  • Social-economic approaches to the various categories of legal studies, such as
    • Private law (tort, contract, property)
    • Criminal law
    • Procedure
    • Jurisprudence
  • Methodological critiques of mainstream economic approaches to the law, such as
    • Maximizing conception of individual choice
    • Efficiency criterion for evaluating laws and institutions
    • Application of game theory, behavioral economics, or experimental economics to legal issues
  • Examination of the history of law-and-economics scholarship
  • Suggestion of topics neglected by mainstream law-and-economics

Proposals should include name and affiliations of all authors, tentative chapter title, and abstract, and should be sent to Mark D. White at [email protected] by April 30, 2012. Tentatively, first drafts of chapters will be expected by November 30, 2012, with final drafts due by February 28, 2013.

World Congress Summer School in Social Economics – Applications for Fellowships Now Open

Jonathan B. Wight

Glasgow, Scotland

June 19-20, 2012


Applications for Fellowships Now Open

The Association for Social Economics announces an exciting Summer School workshop for graduate students and recent Ph.D.s. to be held in conjunction with the World Congress of Social Economics in Glasgow, Scotland.  Between 12-18 fellows will be selected to attend the Summer School as guests of ASE. The Summer School begins the evening of June 19 and continues on June 20, 2012.  The World Congress opens the evening of June 20 and concludes on June 22, 2012.

Aims:  The Summer School brings together a small group of fellows to discuss the central concerns of social economics as a springboard for cutting-edge research and teaching.  Social economics is centrally concerned with questions of social, cultural and ethical values in economic life and the study of these questions at philosophical, theoretical, empirical and policy-related levels.

School topics include aspects of: (1) Social economics, the history of economic thought, and frameworks for thinking about ethics and economics; (2) core topics in social-economics research (theory of the individual, the role of social and cultural values in economic life, inequality, poverty, needs, capabilities, social justice, human flourishing); (3) contemporary topics and empirical research in social economics (the social economy/third sector, social networks, fair trade, socially responsible consumption and production, experimental work on fairness, etc.); and (4) publishing outlets and strategies for graduate students and recent Ph.D.s. 

Fellows must be graduate students or recent Ph.D.s in economics or related fields. 

Awards:  Fellows accepted to the Summer School will receive complementary room and meals for the Summer School and the World Congress, complementary registration to the World Congress, plus all Summer School materials, a package worth up to $1,400.  Some travel stipends are also available on a competitive basis. 

Fellow Obligations:  Accepted fellows must become members of ASE and submit a Summer School refundable deposit of $100 (that will be returned upon completion of the World Congress).  All fellows must commit to participating in all sessions of the Summer School and to staying for the entire World Congress. 

Program: Click here for the Provisional Program

Applications: Click here for the Application Instructions and Form

Or, go to the ASE website (, click on "Conferences" à "World Congress Summer School" à to see the Overview, Preliminary Program, and Application.

The application deadline is March 1, 2012.

For questions contact Aurelie Charles, Chair, Summer School Selection Committee, at [email protected]

Call for papers: Association for Social Economics at 2013 ASSA conference

Association for Social Economics

Call for Papers

Allied Social Science Association Annual Meeting
San Diego, California, January 4-6, 2013

THEME:  The Evolving Social Nature of Exchange

What is the social nature of exchange?  Adam Smith, for example, theorized that the desire to persuade others, rather than to profit from them, was the initial impetus for market interaction.  People trade ideas and feelings as well as goods.  Motives of benevolence, malevolence, and shared sympathy, in addition to self-interest, play motivational roles in exchange, work, and consumption. 

The Industrial Revolution dramatically enlarged the scope of goods manufactured by unknown workers and traded in anonymous global markets. The identity of the artisan shrank as the standard of living grew. Foreign currencies, commodities and stocks are sold today by computers and not by persuasion.  Yet the modern economy is not dominated by commodities and manufactured goods, rather, it is geared to providing services generally delivered by persons with identities.

For example, micro finance sweeps the world, using social capital (friendships and family) as a form of financial collateral.  Call centers in Asia train workers to speak with American accents to create fellow feeling. Modern technology promotes the formation of social networks that enrich and extend personal relationships in many ways, and degrade and trivialize them in others.  There is a resurgence of interest in homegrown markets, in which buyers interact face-to-face with local farmers and artisan-vendors.

For the ASE sessions at the 2013 ASSA meetings we welcome proposals for papers on all aspects of the evolving social nature of exchange. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Going local: Farmers' and other local markets re-personalize exchange
  • Community investment as a way to re-personalize exchange
  • Identity (personal and social) and exchange
  • The resurgence of cities and social externalities in consumption and production
  • The role of social networks in personal and business life
  • Are social networks becoming commercialized and/or corrupted?
  • Do global connections in exchange make markets more moral? 
  • Local customs and culture as expressions of social relationships in exchange
  • The nature and impact of market exchange on the institution of the family
  • The evolving social nature of global exchange, institutions, and the status of women

Please electronically submit a paper title and abstract of up to 250 words to Jonathan Wight, ASE President-Elect, at [email protected], with the words “ASE 2012 Program” in the title. Proposals should include all authors’ names and institutional affiliations, and contact info for the corresponding author, including email address. Proposals for complete sessions are also welcome. Submission deadline is April 30, 2012.

Individuals whose papers are accepted for presentation must either be or become members of the Association for Social Economics by July 1, 2012 in order for the paper to be included in the program.  Membership information can be found at

All papers presented at the ASSA meetings are eligible for the Warren Samuels Prize, awarded to the best paper that advances the goals of social economics and has widespread appeal. Papers can also be considered for a special issue of the Forum for Social Economics. Details of these opportunities will be sent to authors of accepted papers.

A Question for Rick Santorum

Jonathan B. Wight

Rick Santorum has some good ideas—such as that we are not simply individuals, we are also members of families and communities. That social overlay is important to our wellbeing, and should be a focus of economic and public policy analysis—as explored in the field of social economics.

But exactly how should the interests of family and community guide policymaking?

Santorum suggests that The Bible is the one unshakable way for understanding duties, virtues, and interests. Accordingly, the existence of gays and the marriage of gays is decried as abomination (Leviticus 18:22). Of course, it is not hard to find plenty of Christians who would offer a different view of The Bible and the calling to Christ. I myself belong to the Episcopal Church that installed a gay bishop—finding no contradiction between that and the Divine word.

Here's my question to Santorum: If The Bible must be obeyed literally, and The Bible advocates stoning to death adulterers, does Santorum also support stoning as part of modern public policy? If not, why not? (By this measure, Newt Gingrich would not be alive to run in this election.)

If Santorum says The Bible should be obeyed in some instances but not in others, what special right or insight does he offer to discern the difference?

Adam Smith offers a far more workable and adaptive vision for understanding how virtues, duties and interests come together to make laws. As readers of this blog know, the heart of Smith's system is our natural moral sentiments. Over time and across individuals, moral sentiments give rise to rules or laws that guide behavior. These institutions change over time as the moral imagination evolves. Indeed, Smith provides a model for helping us understand how and why the powerful institution of slavery could be abolished, how women could gain property rights and eventually the vote, and indeed how gay people can and should acquire all the rights and freedoms (including marriage) accorded to others in society.

The moral imagination of the young has been awakened by the fellow-feeling with those whose sexual identities differ: In 1996 only 27% of Americans thought same-sex marriage should be legal; that has grown to 53% by 2011 (source).

Santorum is absolutely right that families matter—but his moral imagination is atrophied when it comes to envisioning what a family is or could be. On this point history and voters will not be kind to him.

Call for papers: Well-being in Contemporary Society

Mark D. White

International Conference on the Philosophy and Science of Well-being and their Practical Importance

Location: University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands

Date: July 26-27, 2012

Program Chair:                 
Philip Brey (University of Twente)

Organising committee:                
Johnny Hartz Søraker (University of Twente)
Pak-Hang Wong (University of Twente)
Jan-Willem van der Rijt (University of Amsterdam)
Jelle de Boer (University of Amsterdam)

About the Conference

In recent years, well-being has enjoyed a renaissance in philosophical discussions, as well as in fields like psychology, economics, development studies and sociology. Although these approaches share a common goal – to better understand what well-being is and how it can be enhanced – these developments have led to a great diversity in philosophical and scientific approaches to the analysis of well-being. Despite the increasing amount of research, most of the work on well-being is also performed at a highly abstract level. This is especially true in philosophy, but relatively little work has been devoted to the application of theories of well-being also in other fields, in particular when it comes to an understanding of life in contemporary society. Developments such as globalization, consumerism, and the rapid innovation and use of new and emerging technologies, all exert significant impact on the well-being of people living today, and we need a better understanding of their consequences for well-being.

Contemporary society requires that well-being researchers examine these problems – and, if possible, propose solutions to address them. This international conference aims to bring together researchers from various disciplines, including, but not limited to, psychology, economics, sociology, philosophy and development studies, in order to examine the practical role of well-being in contemporary society.

Potential Topics

We are looking for contributions that examine the notion of well-being in the context of contemporary society. The conference particularly welcomes papers that employ a notion of well-being to address social, political and ethical issues in present-day society. Suggested topics for the workshop include, but are not limited to:

  • Theoretical developments and approaches in the philosophy and science of well-being in relation to contemporary society, culture and life.
  • Well-being in social and political philosophy and/or in policy studies
  • Positive psychology (and related research fields) and its practical applicability
  • New and emerging technologies and well-being
  • Intercultural and interpersonal comparisons of well-being
  • Reliability, validity and applicability of well-being measures
  • Other specific practical issues pertaining to well-being in contemporary society

The workshop will include both invited papers and an open call for papers. For the open call, we invite extended abstracts (1500-2000 words).  Please anonymise the abstract, and include title, name and address in the accompanying email. The abstract, and any questions you may have about the conference, should be sent to [email protected]. Your abstract should be submitted before February 15th 2012, and will be subject to blind peer review.


Following the conference we aim to publish the papers, subject to a blind review process, in either an edited volume or a special issue of a relevant journal. We did so successfully with our previous conference, Good Life In a Technological Age, from which select papers were published as book in the prestigious Routledge Studies in Science, Technology and Society series, and will be available in February 2012.

Important Dates

Abstract Submission Deadline: February 15. 2012
Notification of Acceptance: March 1, 2012
Conference Dates: July 26-27, 2012

Special issue of Socio-Economic Review on corporate social responsibility

Mark D. White

Ser10-1The latest issue of Socio-Economic Review (10/1, January 2012) is a special issue devoted to "Corporate Social Responsibility and institutional theory: new perspectives on private governance":

Stephen Brammer, Gregory Jackson, and Dirk Matten, "Corporate Social Responsibility and institutional theory: new perspectiveson private governance,"

Daniel Kinderman, "'Free us up so we can be responsible!' The co-evolution of Corporate Social Responsibility and neo-liberalism in the UK, 1977-2010",

Richard Marens, "Generous in victory? American managerial autonomy, labour relations and the invention of Corporate Social Responsibility,"

Nahee Kang and Jeremy Moon, "Institutional complementarity between corporate governance and Corporate Social Responsibility: a comparative institutional analysis of three capitalisms,"

Michael A. Witt and Gordon Redding, "The spirits of Corporate Social Responsibility: senior executive perceptions of the role of the firm in society in Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and the USA,"

Sebastian Koos, "The institutional embeddedness of social responsibility: a multilevel analysis of smaller firms' civic engagement in Western Europe,"

Luc Fransen, "Multi-stakeholder governance and voluntary programme interactions: legitimation politics in the institutional design of Corporate Social Responsibility,"

Thomas Conzelmann, "A procedural approach to the design of voluntary clubs: negotiating the Responsible Care Global Charter,"

Call for papers: 14th World Congress in Social Economics, "Towards an Ethical Economy and Economics"

Mark D. White

From the Social Economics Blog:

University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland, UK, June 20-22, 2012
"Towards an Ethical Economy and Economics"

The on-going financial crisis continues to evolve from one centered on the Western financial system to sovereign debt crisis, particularly in the Euro-zone. This has brought into sharp relief the inadequacy of standard approaches that emphasise the economy as inherently stable and the incapacity of the current economic system to address its fundamental problems. The crisis has also raised a host of ethical issues revolving around the actions of governments, the financial sector, communities, individuals, and, indeed, the economics profession. The financial crisis has further revealed the reliance on conventional notions of growth to sustain mass consumption and as a vehicle for addressing recessionary pressures, largely ignoring concerns over environmental sustainability and increasing inequalities. Social economics, with its focus on the social values and relationships that drive the market-based system, is well-placed to offer insightful analyses of the present state of economies and of economics and to offer an outlet for discussion of alternatives founded on the notion of the economy as the process of social provisioning.

See here for more details...

New blog: Social Economics Blog (with 2012 Summer School announcement)

Mark D. White

Earlier this month I had the pleasure and the honor of launching Social Economics Blog, the official blog of the Association for Social Economics. In conjunction with the ASE website and the new ASE listserv (to join, email John B. Davis with "subscribe" in the subject heading), this blog will help spread information about the activities of the ASE and developments in social economics, including:

  • Calls for papers for ASE conferences and conference sessions
  • Announcements of new issues of the ASE's journals, Review of Social Economy and Forum for Social Economics
  • News about other new journal articles and books related to social economics
  • Original contributions from ASE members
  • ...and more!

Of particular is today's post on the first ASE Summer School, being held immediately prior to the 2012 World Congress of Social Economics in Glasgow and being organized by our very own Jonathan B. Wight; for more details, see here.

Finally, you can follow the new ASE Twitter account, @AssocSocialEcon, to receive news of all new ASE blog posts.

Call for papers: 2012 Association for Social Economics/Eastern Economic Association meetings

Mark D. White

It's that time of year again: it is my pleasure to invite you to submit abstracts and/or session proposals for the Association for Social Economics sessions at the 2012 Eastern Economic Association meetings, to be held at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, MA, March 9-11, 2012. 
I welcome any proposals dealing with the concerns of social economics, whether theoretical or practical, methodological or policy-oriented, or anything in between. As always, I am particularly interested in papers exploring the intersection of economics and ethics (which fits under the social economics umbrella), as well as economics and philosophy in general. 

You do not have to be a member of ASE to participate in the EEA sessions, though if you are not a member, I do encourage you to visit the website and consider joining. (In fact, even if you choose not to participate in the meetings, it's a good idea to visit the website and consider joining!)
Please send me your abstracts or session ideas by Monday, October 17, at [email protected]. Also, feel free to ask me about possible topics or themes, or about the meetings in general. The Eastern Economic Association meetings have always been very open to alternative approaches and viewpoints, as well as a wonderful forum for innovative ideas.