There is surprisingly little attention in economics to the meso level. And when there is, the term is often not used. Rather, economists from a wide variety of schools of thought refer to it in terms of groups, regions, industries, social norms, institutions, interaction effects, fallacy of composition, or social capital. Four schools of thought in particular make reference to the relevance for economic analysis of this intermediate level in between micro and macro. But most of these make reference to only one dimension of the meso level. It is social economics in which we find the broadest understanding of the meso level. The purpose of this chapter is to argue, with the help of key contributions by social economists, and in particular by John Davis, the various ways in which social economics conceptualizes the meso level. In addition, connecting to other schools of thought, I will argue that this forms a coherent and meaningful understanding of the meso level for economics more generally.

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van Staveren, I.P. (2019). The meso level in economics. In History, Methodology and Identity for a 21st Century Social Economics (pp. 124–136). Retrieved from