Researcher Profile: Olivier Marie

Olivier Marie is a French Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Maastricht University and recipient of a NWO-Veni grant (2012-2015) for his project on ‘Labour Market Opportunities and Criminal Participation’.

He is also a Fellow at the Research Centre for Education and the Labour Markets (ROA) at Maastricht University in The Netherlands and a research associate at the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics.

In this short interview he explains why he chose to come to the Netherlands to do his research and which arguments he put forward to win the NWO-VENI grant.

An extended version of the interview is also available.


My name is Olivier Marie and I am Assistant Professor in the department of Business and Economics at Maastricht University.

I’ve just received a VENI grant from NWO for three years of research on quite a big project, looking at the link between income and crime. The big issue is that people who have lower income have higher crime rates on average.

So if you have lower income you have higher crime, but it’s very difficult to know which one comes first in a way.

One of the big reasons I came to the Netherlands after my PhD in the UK is because of data availability here. It’s possible to look at all the population and to look at who is committing crime and who has different levels of income across the population so we can do new types of research which is impossible in most countries.

The main thing I would like to come out of my research project would be to really generate a global understanding of income and crime dynamics and to make these findings useful to create a targeted policy which can reduce crime before people commit crime.

Someone told me a long time ago that there are three things you need to have in a successful grant:

First there has to be something you have done, to show that you are able to do the research you are proposing. Second, something you will be able to do and that’s the next phase. And third, something that you may never be able to do but makes the panel dream.

And I think finally that something that really helped me to get the VENI in front of a Dutch panel – because all the researchers in my panel were Dutch – is to say that if the Netherlands really does more with the available data, it will be able to beat Scandinavia… and Scandinavia is at the forefront of all this data availability and has produced most of the good research.

And the very last thing I said during my eight-minute interview is that one of the good things we can do is to beat the Scandinavians in data quality for research. And all the panel started smiling.

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