Skip to main content
About HEC About HEC Faculty & Research Faculty & Research Master’s programs Master’s programs MBA Programs MBA Programs PhD Program PhD Program Executive Education Executive Education Summer School Summer School HEC Online HEC Online About HEC Overview Overview Who
We Are Who
We Are
Egalité des chances Egalité des chances HEC Talents HEC Talents International International Campus
Life Campus
Sustainability Sustainability Diversity
& Inclusion Diversity
& Inclusion
Stories Stories The HEC
Foundation The HEC
Coronavirus Coronavirus
Faculty & Research Overview Overview Faculty Directory Faculty Directory Departments Departments Centers Centers Chairs Chairs Knowledge Knowledge Master’s programs Master in
Management Master in
Master in
International Finance Master in
International Finance
Masters Specialized
Ecole Polytechnique
-HEC programs Ecole Polytechnique
-HEC programs
programs Dual-Degree
students Visiting
Certificates Certificates Student
Life Student
MBA Programs MBA MBA Executive MBA Executive MBA TRIUM EMBA TRIUM EMBA PhD Program Overview Overview HEC Difference HEC Difference Program details Program details Research areas Research areas HEC Community HEC Community Placement Placement Job Market Job Market Admissions Admissions Financing Financing Executive Education Executive Masters Executive Masters Executive Certificates Executive Certificates Executive short programs Executive short programs Online Online Companies Companies Executive MBA Executive MBA Infinity Pass Infinity Pass Summer School Youth Programs Youth Programs Summer programs Summer programs HEC Online Overview Overview Degree Program Degree Program Executive certificates Executive certificates MOOCs MOOCs Summer Programs Summer Programs


Research on Inclusive Economy

Our mission: Combine original data collection and rigorous scientific research in order to offer reliable solutions for decision-makers seeking to further economic inclusion and expand economic opportunity for all.


Our research center led by Professor Marieke Huysentruyt aims at answering the question: How can business help build a more inclusive society?
We propose two ways: Assessing social impact and Experimenting through our lab.

Assessing social impact

We strive to understand the social impact of businesses and develop strategies to help businesses improve their social impact

Some examples of on-going projects: We study the impact of

  • wage transparency on gender wage equity and equality
  • transparency about inequality linked to the production of goods on consumers’ purchasing decisions
  • communication frames on corporate social initiatives’ efficacy to engage with its target beneficiaries
  • exposure to the refugee crisis on corporations’ choices regarding their portfolio of social policies
  • the way social housing agencies interact with their tenants on their risk of rent arrears and eviction
  • governance of health centers on maternal and child health outcomes.

In 2021-2022: On these topics, we published 4 practitioner reports and articles targeted at practitioners and over 10 publications and working papers.

Experimenting through our lab

We apply behavioral insights to develop new strategies for businesses to improve their social impact, we test them in the field, we evaluate their effectiveness and help scale them to impact as many lives as possible
We develop and experiment with solutions that reflect how people actually make decisions and take action. And we apply what we discover to help businesses enhance the impact of their policies, programs, products and services
We are committed not only to identifying promising solutions to tough problems but also scaling them to impact as many lives as possible


With the increased awareness of an “inclusive economy” comes an increased need to define what, exactly, an inclusive economy and inclusive business is. The report “Inclusive Business: What It Is and Why It Matters”, written by Aurélien Feix, Bénédicte Faivre Tavignot, Marieke Huysentruyt and Rodolphe Durand and released by the Society & Organizations Institute as part of the B4IG platform framework, addresses this gap. We have been working on the contours of the inclusive economy since 2008, when HEC Paris created its Inclusive & Social Business Chair in 2008 with Renault, Danone and Schneider Electric. We draw on 12 years of experience, reflection, and interaction with the private sphere, public sphere, and civil society to address the fundamentals of an inclusive economy and business.


cover B4IG report


Part One: Definitions and Concepts

Economic inclusion
Economic inclusion as a give-and-receive relationship    
The central importance of economic inclusion to people’s lives    
The three dimensions of economic inclusion    
The linkages between the different dimensions of economic inclusion
Economic exclusion and the risk of social relegation
Why are our economies not as “inclusive” as we would hope for?    
Barriers to economic inclusion    
The dynamic of economic exclusion


Inclusive business
The basic idea behind inclusive business    
Defining inclusive business    
The spectrum of inclusive businesses    
Inclusive business as a shift in mindset    
Conclusion and outlook    


Part Two: Sample of Successful and Promising Inclusive Business Initiatives

  1. Programme Mobilize    
  2. Programme Malin    
  3. GINcluyete    
  4. The Industry Academy    
  5. Housing insurance    
  6. Collaboration BNP Paribas x L’Ascenseur    
  7. Lemon Aide    
  8. Le Logement Solidaire    


Read the article: "Inclusive Economy: The Antidote to “a World on Fire?"

Interview of Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot, Executive Director of the S&O Institute [FR]

Interview of Marieke Huysentruyt, Academic Director of the S&O Inclusive Economy Department [ENG]




page think sno 1

Inclusive Business: What it is and Why it matters

We explain what an inclusive economy means to us and detail barriers to inclusion and levers that businesses can use to remove these obstacles.

Upload and Read the Report
page think sno 2

What you need to know about Sustainability and CSR

These 19 factsheets summarize, on a single page and in a simple and easily understandable language, academic and practical knowledge on various CSR-related topics: the Sustainable Development Goals, the triple bottom line, inclusive business, social business..

Have a look at our collection of 19 factsheets

Research on various topics...

social entrepreneurship - adobe stock
Social Innovation

How to Drive Innovators for the Common Good

By Marieke Huysentruyt

February 04th, 2022
interviews HEC professors

Labor Market Polarization and the New Geography of Jobs

By Tomasz Kamil Michalski, Eric Mengus

September 11th, 2020
black senior man working - adobe stock
Social Innovation

Yes, Social Entrepreneurship Training Works

By Thomas Åstebro, Florian Hoos

January 28th, 2022

... and more!

The role of Empathy in Corporate Social Initiatives

Research led by Marieke Huysentruyt, Paul Gouvard and Rodolphe Durand

Out of five children in France live below the poverty line, which means that a household with two children lives on a collective income of less that 1,700€ per month. When poverty strikes, it stirkes everywhere, ruthlessly so: higher instances of diabetis related to obesity; sleep deprivation due to threadbare matresses; lack of relaxing hobbies, noisier,more crowded, low quality housing conditions (or no home at all); academic failure; etc...

More on Knowledge@HEC




The Influence of Pay Transparency on Inequity, Inequality, and the Performance-Basis of Pay


Recent decades have witnessed a growing focus on two distinct income patterns: persistent pay inequity, particularly a gender pay gap, and growing pay inequality. Pay transparency is widely advanced as a remedy for both. Yet we know little about the systemic influence of this policy on the evolution of pay practices within organizations. We find evidence that pay transparency causes significant increases in both the equity and equality of pay, and significant and sizeable reductions in the link between pay and individually-measured performance.

by Tomasz Obloj and Todd Zenger

Read the working paper


Consumers must be informed of the "social cost" of the goods and services on offer

To encourage companies to reduce income inequalities along the production chain, a "social cost" could appear on the label next to the purchase price, suggests Brian Hill, CNRS research at HEC, in a op-ed piece for "Le Monde".

Read the article [Fr]

Case Studies

Please find below a best-of of the latest case studies written by HEC professors and research fellow sor PhD students.

  • Combining Business and Societal Objectives at Danone

Case study written by Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot and Frédéric Dalsace

How Social Innovation Can Help a Multinational Company Reinvent Itself: know more on Knowledge@HEC

  • Mobilize, Renault's Affordable Car Project

Case study written by Oliver Chatain

  • Schneider Electric's Pay-as-you-go Solar Home Systems Fund in Kenya

Case study written by Luc Paugam and Lee Sookyoung

  • Veolia's Eau du Grand Lyon

Case study written by Bertrand Quelin

Veolia’s Eau du Grand Lyon: Orchestrating a Social Ecosystem in a Community Around Water Distribution: More to read on Knowledge@HEC

  • Meals Vouchers in the Arab Spring with Sodexo

Written by Eric Mengus and Paul Gouvard

  • ARES et La Petite Reine... de coeur ?

Case study written by Laurence Lehmann Ortega and Julien Kleszczowski

S&O - social impact assessment report - lead content ©istock

Are your social initiatives making the right impact?

S&O has published a Social Impact Assessment Strategy Report, your toolkit for better social impact measurement.

Download the report
page think sno 4

Smart Cities: The Sustainable program of six leading cities

A model for today's urban centers, smart cities pave the way towards a more creative, inclusive and sustainable society.

Read and download the report
Reaching the Rich World’s Poorest Consumers - ©

Reaching the rich world's poorest consumers

Harvard Business Review Article

Read the summary