Erik Snowberg

Erik Snowberg

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Data-Intensive Methods in Economics

The University of British Columbia

“We are excited to welcome Erik Snowberg, both to Vancouver and to UBC’s team of leading economists. This CERC appointment represents an important investment in the social sciences, one that will enable our researchers to provide cutting-edge insights into how public policy and the economy inform our daily lives.”

― Martha Piper, Interim President, University of British Columbia


Renowned economist Erik Snowberg joins The University of British Columbia as Canada Excellence Research Chair in Data-Intensive Methods in Economics.

Snowberg will lead a cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary research program aimed at linking disparate fields in economics. His goal is to build UBC into a world leader in the empirical study of political economy, mining innovative data to better understand the effects of politics and policy on the economy. Snowberg’s appointment will include the launch of a new Centre for Innovative Data in Economics at UBC.

Prior to joining UBC’s Vancouver School of Economics, Snowberg was a professor of economics and political science at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). His research has two foci: using social science theory to design better experiments involving people, with applications in medicine and economic development; and combining behavioral economics with political economy to better understand the roots of partisan politics and its effects on policy.

Snowberg has earned a National Bureau of Economic Research Faculty Research Fellowship, a Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research Dissertation Fellowship, and an Honorable Mention from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

Snowberg received his PhD in business administration from Stanford University. He holds undergraduate degrees in math and physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

High-Quality Data for Better Quality of Life

Erik Snowberg plans to make The University of British Columbia into the world leader in empirical political economy research. The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Data-Intensive Methods in Economics at the university is using innovative data to understand the effects of politics and policy on the economy. Snowberg and his team’s research will explore how business and environmental groups can collaborate with government to simultaneously improve economic productivity and quality of life.

Recent years have seen an explosion of the types of data produced and stored by companies, governments and private citizens. This data, and the tools to analyze it, could revolutionize the historically macro-level, theoretical field of political economy, into a data-driven, micro-level enterprise.

This new path for political economy promises to turn it into a field that can understand economics and politics at the level at which individuals, companies, and politicians experience them. The research behind this new direction will also provide governments, corporations and societies with the tools they need to make better, politically feasible policies.

Snowberg and his research team will be based at The University of British Columbia’s new Centre for Innovative Data in Economics (CIDE). The work at CIDE will build on the university’s already considerable expertise in labour economics, international trade, industrial organization and political economy.

As Canada Excellence Research Chair, Snowberg will oversee CIDE’s development, including that of its data holdings. The Chair position and CIDE will help create a "hub of knowledge" for attracting and retaining top researchers from around the world, and for training highly qualified personnel with the skills to analyze massive datasets in order to support practice and policy decisions.