What Are The Differences Between Economics And Other Social Sciences?


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Tony Fyler answered
It would be an error of scope, to lump all the other social sciences together and hold economics apart, as though it did not belong among them. It certainly belongs among the social sciences, as this umbrella term simply refers to studies the way in which society works, and economics is perhaps, a vital part of that larger jigsaw puzzle.

It would be true to say, though economics is distinct in several respects, in that it:
  • Deals with its constituent parts (such as financial agents) within its own frame of reference, largely without reference to the rest of the social sciences. For example, it marks the effect of transactions by their impact on markets (an internal structure) but does not generally consider their impact on any external markers, like welfare markers of human beings within the market. This for example, makes it distinct from the social science that is education, which tends to view all its impacts in a broader societal context, such as those on crime, employment, property ownership etc.
  • Deals with financial instruments and agents as primary factors. Deals, more than any other social science, with immediate impacts and immediately visible actions and reactions, as well as analyzing trends and developments over time - an economist can tell you the concrete impact of a transaction made a minute ago, whereas an educationalist will need to wait some time before discerning the impact of curriculum changes, and a historian even longer before assessing the impacts of a government decision.
  • On the same basis, it could be argued that economics is perhaps the most tangible of the social sciences - it is relatively straightforward in economics, but the broadest scale to prove, that A leads to B, which leads to C. The Nature-Nurture debate in psychology, the evolving debate over teaching methodologies, and the never-ending cycle of interpretation and dissection in every corner of historical discussion proves, that economics is probably unique in this audit-trail from cause to effect.

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