Social Macroeconomics

The Social Macroeconomics programme aims to fill a particularly important gap in macroeconomic analysis and policy: the influence of social forces on macroeconomic activity and vice versa.

We aim to understand economic decisions and their macroeconomic consequences as the outcome of the social interactions among individuals within their social groups. 

About the programme

Humans are social creatures, whose perceptions, beliefs and objectives are formed in interaction with one another. Through evolution and language we have capacities for cooperation for common purpose. So what are the implications of human sociality for macroeconomic activity, in terms of theoretical, empirical and policy analysis?

The influence of social groups on macroeconomic activity – working through identity formation, social norms and narratives within social networks – is largely ignored in conventional economic analysis, which divides all economic phenomena into “microeconomics” and “macroeconomics,” thereby ignoring social groups. By examining the social foundations of macroeconomic activities, alongside the macroeconomic foundations of social interactions, Social Macroeconomics clears the way for understanding the role of social integration and social fragmentation in shaping macroeconomic performance. Such an understanding has potentially far-reaching implications for economic policy, reinforced by social policy. 

Contributions to the series are expected to involve interdisciplinary research, bridging economics, social psychology, social neuroscience, sociology, anthropology, evolutionary biology and more. 

The Social Macroeconomics working paper series supports the Social Cooperation Research Hub of Rebuilding Macroeconomics, which rests on the following ideas:

  • economic cooperation requires social cooperation;
  • social cooperation has traditionally been shaped by social groups of limited size;
  • our bounds of social cooperation can be extended through strategic communication in the form of narratives, supported by multilevel governance;
  • these devices enable us to align our motives and interests within communities of shared identity;
  • the scale of our macroeconomic problems often exceeds the scale of our social groups;
  • effective macroeconomic policies require bounds of social cooperation that are consonant with the bounds of economic cooperation.

On this account, macroeconomic and social policies must be formulated together with appropriate political and social narratives in order to become effective. 

Understanding the role of human sociality within macroeconomic activity.