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Behavioural economics and social economics: opportunities for an expanded curriculum

Paul Manning (The University of Chester, Chester, UK)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 10 December 2018

Issue publication date: 27 September 2019




The global financial crisis (GFC) undermined the legitimacy of orthodox economic assumptions, which nevertheless continue to frame business school pedagogy. In consequence, there is an opportunity for socio-economic insights to be more fully incorporated into the business school curriculum. This paper reports and reflects on a socio-economic case study that was delivered to MBA students. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the developing literature on behavioural economics (BE) has the potential to enhance students’ social economic understanding of key areas of the curriculum.


The paper presents an inter-disciplinary socio-economic teaching case that was informed by insights from BE. The teaching case concerned a socio-economic understanding of corruption and white-collar crime. It was also inter-disciplinary to include inputs from business history and criminology. The aim of the teaching case was to develop an appreciation among students that corruption and white-collar crime can be analysed within a social economics lens.


The teaching case example discussed in this paper offered an alternative socio-economic understanding to core areas of the MBA curriculum, enabling students to apply a behavioural economic approach to corruption and more generally to white-collar crime. The findings derived from this case study are that behavioural economics has the potential to enhance the teaching of socio-economics.

Practical implications

The GFC presents an opportunity to re-shape the business school curriculum to acknowledge the centrality of socio-economics and consequently to offer an alternative to the dominant ontological assumptions – taken from the economic understanding of rationality – that have previously under-pinned business school pedagogy.


The originality of this paper is to apply BE to a socio-economic teaching case studies in core subject areas of the MBA curriculum.



The author of this paper have not made their research data set openly available. Any enquiries regarding the data set can be directed to the corresponding author.


Manning, P. (2019), "Behavioural economics and social economics: opportunities for an expanded curriculum", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 46 No. 8, pp. 992-1003.



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