Sciences Po CSO/CNRS CNRS

Economic conducts

The CSO, with its work on behavior, continually nourishes the dialogue between economic sociology and the sociology of organizations. Behaviors, and particularly economic behaviors, can largely be accounted for by looking at the prescriptions from different forms of institutions which influence them. These institutions in turn are based on varying types of knowledge of differing status.
This program looks at changes in the organization and regulation of markets via an analysis of interventions of public actors, private firms, experts, social movements, and consumers. The goal is to understand the governance of economic behaviors, the construction of value, and the configurations of economic institutions.
The aim of this program is to create a systematic comparison of the instruments encountered in other CSO research programs, in order to understand to what extent they are subject to a shared logic and what the role of government, markets, professions, and social movements may be.

Governance of economic behaviors

By governing individual behaviors in new ways, it is also possible to change values and regulate market competition. These modes of governance are based on knowledge and use a variety of instruments, but they all share the presumption of the existence of rational behavior or aim to create such behavior.
The analysis of the prescriptions which influence economic behaviors was the subject of an ANR program (2009-2012) and of a collective volume, which included contributions from CSO researchers and external scholars. This work continues with a study on consumer practices and the regulations which guide them.
The relationships between opinion makers (public actors, firms, consumer associations, professionals, and experts) and consumers will be studied from two perspectives: firstly, in the framework of "new healthcare markets," whether they be functional foods, obesity prevention programs, or social marketing and health education; secondly, in an analysis of financial education policies, by observing the national and international construction of "financial literacy" as a new issue for public concern.
Governing behavior through labor organization will be analyzed by looking at the issue of pesticides and worker health. The main focus of this study will be to see how prevention messages contribute to empowering agricultural workers, thereby taking the burden of responsibility off the shoulders of various public and private bodies who are involved in the production, use, and control of pesticides.

Economic institutions and the construction of value

This topic evokes several issues – among them: the conditions necessary for the construction of economic value, the contribution of public and private actors, and the type of institutions which legitimize value. These questions can be addressed in a number of fields: rulings on jurisdiction rendered by the French labor relations court (Conseil de prud’hommes), tensions between health benefits and market logics in evaluating and promoting health claims for food, the value of poets, the construction of cinematographic value, and the collective pragmatism of judges at the Parisian commercial court (Tribunal de Commerce) and their negotiation of the norms to be used in the social control of the business world.
Research continues on the introduction of environmental values onto markets, with an analysis of the role of public policies and social movements. The goal is not to simply reveal the role of social movements in the definition of public issues or agenda setting, but rather to look downstream at the new modes of regulation that are supposed to come out of these movements. Some may take the form of an institutionalization of the social movements themselves, or the latter may be progressively taken over by the government. In other, contrasting, cases, the government may leave certain domains to non-governmental organizations, as in the example of the creation of fair trade and social responsibility certifications.


=> The researchers involved in the Economic Behaviors program are:
Sophie Dubuisson-Quellier
Jeanne Lazarus
Emmanuel Lazega
Emmanuelle Marchal
Olivier Pilmis

And also:
Henri Bergeron
Patrick Castel
Renaud Crespin
Pierre François
Jean-Noël Jouzel
Etienne Nouguez


Research Programs