module specification

EC5051 - Economics and Ethics (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Economics and Ethics
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
 
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
In-Course Test 40%   Short in-class tests (40 mins)
Coursework 60%   2500-word essay
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester City Wednesday Morning

Module summary

This module traces the development of the modern-economics conception of economic agency out of earlier discourses. It also compares and contrasts this with a competence-based understanding of the foundations of economic behaviour. Finally, it considers the relation between how economists have come to understand the nature of economic agency and the development of institutions and organisations in both private and public sectors and assesses whether such institutions are ‘fit-for-purpose’.  

Prior learning requirements

EC4006 Principles of Economics, or equivalent

Module aims

The module aims to provide students with:

  1. a systematic knowledge and understanding of the development of the modern-economics conception of economic agency out of earlier discourses;
  2. a systematic knowledge and understanding of a competence-based understanding of the foundations of economic behaviour and understanding of the relation between how economists have come to understand the nature of economic agency and the development of institutions and organisations in both private and public sectors;
  3. a range of transferable and subject-specific skills that will be of value in employment and self-employment.

The module also aims to develop students' skills, in particular: academic study skills; subject research;
applied analysis; critical thinking; literacy  and problem solving.

 

Syllabus

Ways of being moral: how the relation between economic agency and morality has been understood.
The idea of homo economicus: the origins and development of economic inquiry as a discourse.
The modern commonwealth: towards a competence-based understanding of economic behaviour.
Economic behaviour and the moral sentiments.
How modern economics and cognate disciplines have come to represent the moral basis of economic activity.
Hobbes world: the consequences of the misrepresentation of the moral basis of economic activity in terms of contemporary economic organisation and management.
Understanding the credit crunch; the issue of governance in relation to private and public sector reform. 

 

Learning and teaching

Students’ learning is organised around direct contact time with the teaching team, and reflective independent learning, both individually and in teams. The direct contact time takes place through lectures, seminars and group workshops. Students are expected to complement this 'formal' learning activity with further reading of the material suggested in the teaching sessions, and solving realistic business and economic problems on the basis of their emerging understanding of the principles of economic behaviour

Student contact time will normally be 3 hours per week. Lectures will typically be around 1 hour duration and will deliver core subject knowledge. As this module emphasises the development of theory and its effect on the formation of economic agency a whole-group workshop of around 1 hour will provide examples of how the performativity of economics as a discourse works. In the 1 hour seminar the emphasis is on student learning through participation, formative feedback and active learning.

The contact time with teaching teams will be organised around a range of learning activities including active learning to acquire knowledge and understanding, problem solving, presentations, analysis of case studies, group reading and analysis of research papers, discussion of policy issues and debate. Many activities require students to carry out independent work prior to meetings with lecturers.

Increasingly through the module students are required to engage with research published in high level academic journals and research institutes. Initiative and independence is developed progressively through the module such that students are required to take greater responsibility of their work.
 

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a broad knowledge and a systematic understanding of the origins and development of economics as a social science;
  2. demonstrate a broad knowledge and a systematic understanding of the principles of economic behaviour and compare and contrast these with the modern-economics conception;
  3. apply what they have learnt in terms of principles of behaviour to the question of adequate organisational structure;
  4. demonstrate communication, self-management, and time-management skills.

Assessment strategy

The in-class tests will require students to write answers to questions addressing the underlying principles or issues of the subject matter. Their knowledge and understanding will be further developed and tested as they work through and hand in an essay. Students will be encouraged to make presentations that will show their progress in this task, as well as opening up their work to the constructive criticism of their colleagues. This will develop their ability to work effectively in groups, and learn the benefit of collaboration with colleagues.

Bibliography

Blond, P., 2009. Red Tory Faber
Bruni, L., and Sugden, R., 2007. ‘The Road not Taken: How Psychology was Removed from Economics, and How it might be Brought Back.’ Economic Journal  117 pp. 146-173.
Currie, G. , Knights, D. , and Starkey, K.,  2010. ‘Introduction’ British Journal of Management Vol. 21, S1-S5
de Waal, F., 2006.  Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved. Princeton University Press, Princeton.  
Dixon, W. and Wilson D., 2010. ‘Thomas Chalmers: the market, moral conduct and social order’ History of Political Economy 42(4) pp. 723-746.
Ferraro, F., Pfeffer, J. and Sutton, R.I., 2005. ‘Economics Language and Assumptions: How Theories can Become Self-Fulfilling’ Academy of Management Review Vol. 30, No. 1, 8-24.
Ghosal, S., 2005, ‘Bad Management Theories are Destroying Good Management Practices’ Academy of Management Learning and Education vol.4 No.1  pp. 75-91.
Mackenzie, D. 2006  Engine not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets.
Seddon, J., 2008. Systems Thinking in the Public Sector Triarchy Press
Smith, Adam (1986) [1776], The Wealth of Nations. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
Smith, Adam (1976) [1759], The Theory of Moral Sentiments, edited by D.D. Raphael and A.L. Macfie. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Smith, V., 2010. ‘What would Adam Smith think?’ Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization 73 pp. 83–86
Wilson, David, and William Dixon 2009 'Performing economics: a critique of T&L', International Review of Economics Education 8:2 pp.91-105
Wilson, D. and Dixon, W. 2010 'Performing the Recession' Studie Note di Economia 15:3 pp. 347-362
Wilson, D. and Dixon, W. 2011  A History of Homo Economicus: The Nature of the Moral in Economic Theory Routledge