Faculty Profile

Herbert Kessel, PhD

Professor of Economics, Emeritus


M.A., Ph.D. Boston University
B.S. University of Rhode Island

Courses Taught:

  • Principles of Microeconomics
  • Senior Seminar in Economics
  • Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomic Theory
  • Econometrics
  • Business and Government
  • Labor Economics and Income Distribution

Approach to Scholarship:

Approach: Engaged scholarship which bridges the gap between theory, practice, and the community to make academic research more relevant. The resources of the Academy are used to solve public policy questions.

Areas of interest: Labor markets, poverty and income inequality, survey research, Vermont Exceptionalism, Government sponsored social welfare and employment programs.

My Life at Saint Michael’s:

I first arrived on campus in the fall of 1977 from Boston University’s Ph.D. program. My expectation at the time was to remain in Vermont for at most two or three years and then move on to a major research institution. But time intervened and I never left.  After being educated in major university settings, I began to appreciate the value of a small liberal arts college with a strong philosophical student centered and personalized education. I found that Saint Michael’s provided both students and faculty with an environment in which they could make a difference in the life of the institution. It is a place that believes deeply in the transformative possibilities of higher education. We never know what a student will be like when they graduate after four intense years of study, but through the years I have seen how the close mentoring process that is at the heart of the College and the growth that comes from facing new challenges and experiences, both academic and otherwise, results in students that are more self-assured, thoughtful, intellectually engaged and better prepared to live a meaningful life.   

What first attracted me first to Economics was a desire to learn more about the problems of poverty, income inequality and the ways that labor markets work. It has always been exciting to see how a set of simple principles, theoretical models and data can illuminate public policy and everyday life. I try to share with students my enthusiasm for learning and a conviction that economic ideas are stimulating, relevant and challenging.

Recent Scholarship:

VERMONT’S DOMESTIC MIGRATION PATTERNS: A Cause of Social and Economic Differences. Bolduc and Kessel. The Northeastern Geographer. Vol. 7, 2015.
The Workforce Investment Act in Vermont: Participant Outcomes. Kessel. A series of annual studies conducted for the Vermont Department of Labor to measure the impact of the Workforce Investment Act. From 2002 through 2014.  
Vermont in transition: A summary of social, economic and environmental trends. Bolduc and Kessel. The Council on the Future of Vermont. 2008.
Pulse of Vermont: Quality of life study. Bolduc and Kessel. The Vermont Business Roundtable. 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010.
The Curtis Fund Scholarship Program: Perceptions and Outcomes of Recent Scholarship Recipients. Bolduc and Kessel. The Curtis Scholarship Foundation. 201

I live in Shelburne with my wife, Barbara Kessel. Our three sons, Adam, Jonah and Andrew, like many native born young Vermonters, have all moved out of state to pursue careers in law, journalism and teaching. We now have three grandchildren with another one on the way. Much of my time outside of Saint Michael’s is spent reading, playing golf and tennis, gardening, theater and travel.

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