Cite this Article
Mapping Social Policy in Economics Research: An Analysis of Core Journals. Journal of Scientometric Research. 2021;10(2):235-244. doi:10.5530/jscires.10.2.37..
This study reviews the attention core economics journals have paid to the topic of social policy and economic performance based on 1,356 articles published between 1957 and 2020 using bibliometric analysis and data visualisation techniques. This approach allow us, based on the assessment of bibliometric data through co-citation, co-authorship and keywords networks analysis, to identify researchers, countries, institutions and research areas and trends offering useful information that facilitates future research and policy making. The emphasis is on the empirical literature given the theoretical controversies on the sign of the relationship and its usefulness for policy making. The most active country publishing in the core journals is the USA, with Sweden leading in terms of average citations. The top publishing authors and institutions are in the US, and China is the only developing country present. Keywords analysis reveals that the most often used terms reflect common methodological approaches. Retirement issues dominate the research agenda and suggest the need for more studies addressing the economic outcomes of other welfare programs, although recent studies put more emphasis on health, education and labour market issues. This analysis can help researchers to pinpoint relevant studies, identify dominant lines of enquiry and the more recently investigated themes and, ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’, suggest new approaches to study the overall nexus.