Sarah A. Jacobson

Associate Professor of Economics

Schapiro Hall Rm 205
At Williams since 2010

Drop-in office hours: Mon 1-3:45pm & Thu 9am-noon

Additional bookable office hours: one-on-one, in pairs (typically for Econ 251 students)


B.S. Harvey Mudd College (1998)
M.A. Georgia State University, Economics (2005)
Ph.D. Georgia State University (2010)

Areas of Expertise

  • Environmental economics
  • Experimental economics
  • Microeconomics

Current Committees

  • Committee on Educational Affairs

Google Scholar profile

My Twitter

Are you a Williams student who would like to be in economics experiments? Sign up here! You earn cash for your participation, and you provide me (or whoever is running the experiment) with useful data.

Fields of Specialization

Environmental Economics
Experimental Economics

Publications – Peer-Reviewed

Delaney, Jason, Jacobson, Sarah, and Moenig, Thorsten, 2019. “Preference Discovery.” Experimental Economics, Forthcoming. (formerly circulated as “Discovered Preferences for Risky and Non-Risky Goods.”)

Dissanayake, Sahan T. M. and Jacobson, Sarah, 2016. “Policies with Varying Costs and Benefits: A Land Conservation Classroom Game.” Journal of Economic Education, 47(2), 142-160. (Recording spreadsheeteditable instructions and recording sheetinstructors’ econ concept handout) You can also play the game online with your class through the Economics-Games website (choose “Create a Multiplayer Game and Get Logins” then “Externalities and public goods” then “Policies with Varying Costs and Benefits…”).

Delaney, Jason and Jacobson, Sarah, 2016. “Payments or Persuasion: Common-Pool Resource Management with Price and Non-price Measures.” Environmental and Resource Economics, 65(4), 747-772. (experiment instructions) (full-text view-only version)

Delaney, Jason and Jacobson, Sarah, 2015. “The Good of the Few: Reciprocal Acts and the Provision of a Public Bad.” Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, 58, 46-55. (Experiment instructions, data and analysis files)

Jacobson, Sarah, 2014. “Temporal Spillovers in Land Conservation.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 107, Part A, 366-379. (Special issue on “Identification of Causal Effects in Environmental and Energy Economics”)

Delaney, Jason and Jacobson, Sarah, 2014. “Those Outsiders: How Downstream Externalities Affect Public Good Provision.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 67(3), 340-352 . (Experiment instructions, Homogeneous Return and Heterogeneous Return treatments)

Jacobson, Sarah and Petrie, Ragan, 2014. “Favor Trading in Public Good Provision.” Experimental Economics, 17(3), 439-460. (Experiment instructions)

Jacobson, Sarah and Petrie, Ragan, 2009. “Learning from Mistakes: What Do Inconsistent Choices over Risk Tell Us?” Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 38(2), 143-158.

Other Publications

Jacobson, Sarah, 2018. “Using Twitter to Make Your Professional Life Better, Not Worse.” Hispanic Economic Outlook. Fall 2018.

Jacobson, Sarah, 2018. “Inclusion Strengthens and Enriches the NAREA Community” (Presidential Address). Agricultural and Resource Economic Review, 47(3), 415-418.

Jacobson, Sarah, 2015. “How to Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Job Market.” Southern Economic Journal, 81(3), 843-863. (“Targeting the Profession” section.) (Here is the data management spreadsheet I describe in the paper.) (I circulated an older version of this as my “job market white paper”)

Alm, James and Jacobson, Sarah, 2007. “Using Laboratory Experiments in Public Economics.” National Tax Journal, 60(1), 129-152.

Working Papers

de Oliveira, Angela and Jacobson, Sarah, 2018. “(Im)patience by Proxy: Making Intertemporal Decisions for Others.” Latest revision: October 2018. (Revise and resubmit)

Earnhart, Dietrich, Jacobson, Sarah, Kuwayama, Yusuke, and Woodward, Richard, 2019. “Discretionary Exemptions from Environmental Regulation: Regulatory Flexibility for Good or for Ill.” Latest revision: July 2019.

Dissanayake, Sahan T. M., and Jacobson, Sarah, 2019. “Money Growing on Trees: A Classroom Game About Payments for Environmental Services in Community Forestry.” Latest revision: August 2019. (Under review) Additional files to play game: the whole bundle as a zip file, or individually: Excel recording sheet, slide deck, editable participant Instructions and Recording Sheet, editable Handout, editable Instructor How-To

Aquino, Patrick, Gazzale, Robert, and Jacobson, Sarah, 2015. “When Do Punishment Institutions Work?” Latest revision: August 2015. (Experiment instructions: Ex AnteEx Post StrategyEx Post Direct)

Abidoye, Babatunde, Dissanayake, Sahan T. M., and Jacobson, Sarah, 2018. “Seeds of Learning: An Ecosystem-Based Adaptation Game.” Latest revision: July 2018. (Available on request)

Works in Progress

“Deterrence in the Public and Private Sectors,” with Dietrich Earnhart.

“Race and the Perception of Criminality,” with Robynn Cox.

“A Theory of Preference Discovery,” with Jason Delaney & Thorsten Moenig.

“Cops and Rent-A-Cops: Public and Private Provision of Security,” with Gregory DeAngelo.


At Williams, I have taught:

  • Econ 251 “Price and Allocation Theory” (intermediate microeconomics, undergraduate)
  • Econ / Envi 213 “Intro to Environmental & Natural Resource Economics” (undergraduate)
  • Econ / Envi 386 / 518 “Environmental Policy & Natural Resource Management” (undergraduate and CDE MA)
  • Econ 477 / Envi 376 “The Economics of Environmental Behavior”

Information for students in my classes is available on Glow.

Other Things

Here are some handouts and other resources that I’ve made that may be useful:

  •, run by John Whitehead and Tim Haab, with frequent posts on environmental, resource, and general micro-economics in the news
  • Common Resources, the blog from Resources from the Future, with detailed posts from RFF economists on a variety of environmental and resource economics topics, plus notifications of new RFF (and some non-RFF) publications
  • Robert Stavins’s blog, with less frequent but wonderful and very detailed discussions of environmental economics issues