I spoke yesterday in a plenary session at The Australian Sociological Association’s annual conference at ANU. The session was on ‘Economics and Sociology’, and I shared the stage with RSSS Director David Marsh and TASA President Michael Gilding (who I know because of the fascinating work he has done on wealth holdings). There were of course the usual anti-economics jokes (economics is about how people make choices, sociology is about how people have no choices), and anti-sociology jokes (economists are told that if they’re good, they’ll be reincarnated as physicists, and if they’re bad, they’ll be reincarnated as sociologists).
I spoke about how I see the two disciplines, what I’ve learned from sociology in my own research, and what the two disciplines might learn from one another. In case it’s of interest, here are my slides. The Q&A session was terrific fun, though it made me realise that I’ve forgotten almost everything I ever knew about Marxist economics. I’m also not sure everyone was convinced when I argued that Stevenson and Wolfers had shown that the Easterlin Paradox didn’t exist, and that economic growth was on balance pretty good for wellbeing.