SFU Economics welcomes new faculty member Kevin Schnepel
It is with pleasure that the Department of Economics at Simon Fraser University welcomes our new faculty member, Dr. Kevin Schnepel. Dr. Schnepel comes to us from the University of Sydney, where he was an assistant professor for the past five years. His research focuses on the economics of crime, health economics, labour economics, and environmental economics.
It was during his time competing his master’s program in economics that Schnepel first delved into labour, health, and crime as his areas of interest. As a master’s student at the University of Colorado, he took on a research assistanceship for a labour economics professor who was conducting work that fascinated Schnepel.
Following the completion of his master’s degree, Schnepel went on to teach an introductory economics course in a prison college program in Colorado. His conversations with the prisoners before and after the lectures inspired him to pursue his PhD at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His doctorate studies investigated key determinants of crime, and the causal impact of the labour market and health interventions on criminal behaviour.
Schnepel is passionate about projects that increase our understanding of programs and policies that can increase rates of successful re-entry into society for released prisoners.
“Crime is incredibly costly to society,” says Schnepel. “Economists can bring a lot to the table in helping to better understand what types of policies and interventions can most effectively reduce crime. Over the last decade there has been a substantial increase in this field.
“One of the aspects of this field that I like is that it overlaps with so many other areas of applied economics—labour, health, [and] environmental, just to name a few.”
When Schnepel tells others that he’s an economist who studies crime, many people assume he focuses on financial fraud or “white collar” crime. “While I find those topics interesting,” says Schnepel, “my research has focused on the types of criminal activity that are intricately linked with social and economic disadvantage.”