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Socioeconomics or Socio-economics is the study of the relationship between economic activity and social life. The field is often considered multidisciplinary, using theories and methods from sociology, economics, history, psychology, and many others. It is a relatively new social science that has emerged as a separate field of study in the late twentieth century. Most colleges and universities do not have a separate department or degree for socioeconomic studies.
Socioeconomics typically analyze both the social impacts of economic activity and economic impacts of social activity. In many cases, however, socioeconomists focus on the social impact of some sort of economic change. Such changes might include a closing factory, market manipulation, the signing of international trade treaties, new natural gas regulation, etc. Such social effects can be wide-ranging in size, anywhere from local effects on a small community to changes to an entire society.
Examples of causes of socioeconomic impacts include new technologies such as cars or mobile phones, changes in laws (such as the legal right to abortion), changes in the physical environment (such as increasing crowding within cities), and ecological changes (such as prolonged drought or declining fish stocks). These may affect patterns of consumption, the distribution of incomes and wealth, the way in which people behave (both in terms of purchase decisions and the way in which they choose to spend their time), and the overall quality of life. These can further have indirect effects on social attitudes and norms.
Although harder to measure, changes in less-tangible factors are also considered, such as personal dignity, freedom of association, personal safety and freedom from fear of physical harm, and the extent of participation in civil society.
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