University of Sheffield Professor discusses impact of commuting

University of Sheffield Professor discusses impact of commuting

 September 17, 2019

Jennifer Roberts, Professor of Economics at the University of Sheffield, shares her passion for lecturing as well as her research into how commuting can be detrimental to people's mental health, in an informative video.

Watch her engaging video and learn something new!

Understanding the world through a valuable subject

"I'm a micro-economist so that means I'm interested in individual behaviours and individual decision making. I'm probably not a traditional academic really. I come from a very working class background. In fact, you could probably describe it as a very poor background," says Jennifer.

"During my A Levels I studied Economics and it was a really new subject for me, and I really loved it. So I chose to study Economics at university and really that's what led me to become a lecturer - because I realised that I loved the research process, that I thought economics was an amazingly valuable subject that allowed you to understand the world and understand why we make the decisions that we do."

Commuting behaviour: a fascinating topic 

Jennifer is particularly interested in the relationship between health and work, and at the moment a particular interest for her is around commuting behaviour.

"If you spend time commuting, economics tells you that you should only do that if you're compensated. For a lot of people, even though they might have access to a better job or a better house by commuting, it's still detrimentally affecting their mental health. That means that from an economic point of view, this is an irrational behaviour. That's a fascinating topic for an economist," explains Jennifer.

"I feel very privileged to be able to bring my research into my teaching at Sheffield. I think that is one of the things that makes an inspirational lecturer - to be able to use the research, and I love that light bulb moment irrational behaviours, maybe in particular commuting, something that most students have seen their parents doing and they think 'Ooh why is it that people behave in a particular way?' I think that's what really hooks students into economics and hopefully will make them great economists in the future."

Working with inspirational, enthusiastic staff

Jennifer enjoys working in Sheffield and pursuing her career among inspirational staff members. "Sheffield's a great place to do economics. It's a fantastic place to do research, to teach and to learn. We also have a lot of amazingly inspirational, enthusiastic staff - and Sheffield's also a great place to live. I've lived in Sheffield for quite a number of years now and one of the reasons is because I'm a very outdoorsy person - I love to climb and to share photos. Sheffield is a really vibrant city on the edge of a national park; what else could you want?" Jennifer concludes. 

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