Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes
Edmund Hustinx prize for Olivier Marie
MAASTRICHT. It’s not his first prize. Olivier Marie has already been awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship that gives researchers the opportunity to gain experience abroad, and in 2012 he received the Veni grant from the Dutch research organisation NWO. Last Monday a jury unanimously awarded the Edmond Hustinx prize to the assistant professor at the School of Business and Economics for his ongoing research on the associations between labour market opportunities and criminal participation.
Dr Olivier Marie is from “near Paris”, but you can barely hear that when he speaks English. The reason quickly becomes clear: He spent a few years as a child in the US and has done all his academic education in the UK.
Marie is fascinated by the link between income, employment and crime. Researchers have only recently been looking at this problem from an economic angle. Marie is one of the first in Europe to deal with it – not least because he has access “to some of the best data in the world, which was one of the reasons to move to the Netherlands”. The dataset from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) is unique – it is virtually possible to follow the entire Dutch population for over a decade – especially when linked with police information on everyone arrested in a certain period of time. Only Scandinavia has a comparable quality of data for crime research.
“The big issue is that people who have a lower income have higher crime rates on average”, Marie says. “But the question is: What comes first? Is it the chicken or the egg?” He would first like to generate a broad understanding of income and crime dynamics, to try to understand the mechanism. What effect do policy changes have that have generated shocks on the labour market? Are there discontinuities across cohorts – for example, because of a rise in the minimum compulsory schooling age? And second: Marie hopes his findings will be useful to create a targeted policy which can prevent crime before it is committed.
The Edmond Hustinx prize is meant for young, promising researchers. The jury described Marie as “an outstanding and promising talent who will undoubtedly have a very successful career ahead of him”. He will continue to work on his crime investigation the coming years. The prize – the honour and €15,000 – gives him the chance to spend time working on his research abroad.