Economics as an Economic and a Social Relationship

Economics as an Economic and a Social Relationship

By
David M. Kreps, James N. Baron
The Handbook of Organizational Economics. Princeton: Princeton University Press,
2013, Pages 315-41

Because employment is simultaneously an economic and a social relationship, one cannot profitably study it as one or the other in isolation. To understand employment relationships requires taking into account both economic and social-psychological dimensions of their content and context and, especially, how economic and social forces interact. This is true of many economic exchanges, but particularly of employment: Fraught with the complexities of time, uncertainty, and ambiguity, employment contracts are often massively incomplete. “Market discipline” is likely to become less and less acute the longer an employment relationship endures. Although supply-equals-demand may be informative in the aggregate, at the…