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Sociology And Economics

Updated on April 17, 2016

It is easier to distinguished sociology from Economics because it concerns itself with a special sector of human experience. Economics investigates all that have to do with business, with getting and spending, with producing and consuming, and with distributing and exchanging the resources of the world.

As Economics developed under the influence of the classical school of Adams smith in England, it deals almost exclusively with the inter-relationships of purely economics variables, the relations of price and supply, money flows, input-output ratios and such phenomena. Economics thus studies only one segment of society unlike sociology, classical economics was largely deductive, starting with the basic assumptions about economics, rationality, and deducing from these an elaborate theory of economic behavior.

The theory of price for example assumes that individual buyers will buy less if the price rises and that producers will produce more. Price under perfect competition is determine by the interaction of the curves derived from plotting changes in supply and demand in relation to price movements.

The theory of the firm shows how profits can be maximized given various relations between fixed cost, average costs and marginal costs, Whether managers actually behave in this way is another matter. Thus little attention has been paid by economist to the individual's actual economic behavior or motivation, and only modest energy has gone into studying productive enterprises as social organizations.

Many important problems, highly relevant to economics have not really become the object of concentrated economic research.Studies of the role of values and preferences in affecting the supply of labor, the influence exerted by prestige and customs on the price of goods, the origins and motivations of entrepreneurs and managers and the contribution of education to psychologists.

Economics thus provides us with models of behavior in limited circumstances and under stated assumptions.This is unlike sociology that studies all aspects of social relations and providing models of behavior based on purely empirical data. However, sociology and economics are coming closer together in trying to bring its model more closely into line with what actually happens in real world, economists have increasingly tried to measure economic behavior as it does in econometric, and to modify their theories in the light of empirical data.

On the other hand, there has been a growing interest among sociologists in the study of the economic system. This convergence can be identified as the problems of economic development and growth in underdeveloped countries have forced economist to widen their perspectives and to pay attention to the non-economic contexts of production- the way in which the extended family, for example may hinder mobility of labor. A particularly interesting example of convergence is the use of the economist notion of exchange to explain various social phenomena such as power.

All social interactions involve an exchange of benefits. Where the interaction, is one-sided, one party can regularly use the threat of withdrawal of favor to achieve compliance. That is, power relationship exists. Thus economist think as sociologist do, especially in terms of systems and subsystems, the relations between parts, especially patterns of dependence, dominance, exchange e.t.c. Both are also interested in measurements; often precise and the relationships between sets of variables, as well as the use of mathematical models as aids in analyzing data.

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