Marshall defined economics as "the study of mankind in the ordinary business of life ... [It is that] social action which is most closely connected with the attainment and use of the material requests of wellbeing". However, the ordinary business of life is embedded within a larger moral economy of solidarity. Social economics is the study of the principles and problems related to that embedding. The Institute has interests in the economics of non-profits and community banks, rural sustainability, urban design, and sustainable development.
Our initial project in this domain was a submission concerning the Halifax Draft Centre Plan. In 2015, a secondary land-use planning process was initiated for the regional centre of Halifax-Dartmouth to guide property development and use in the capital district. In October 2016, the Draft Centre Plan was released, together with a call for additional public input. The Institute submitted a formal comment on that document:
"Submission on the Hfx Draft Centre Plan" (Halifax, 01 December, 2016).