Sarah A. Jacobson

Photo of Sarah A. Jacobson

Associate Professor of Economics

Schapiro Hall Rm 205
At Williams since 2010

On leave academic year 2021-22; visiting at Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management (Office: Warren 461)

Google Scholar profile

My Twitter

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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

Fields of Specialization

Environmental Economics
Experimental Economics

Publications – Peer-Reviewed

Abidoye, BabatundeDissanayake, Sahan T. M., and Jacobson, Sarah, 2021. “Seeds of Learning: Uncertainty and Technology Adoption in an Ecosystem-Based Adaptation Game.” Applied Economics Teaching Resources, 3(3), 79-103. (game materials)

Dissanayake, Sahan T. M., and Jacobson, Sarah, 2021. “Money Growing on Trees: A Classroom Game About Payments for Environmental Services in Community Forestry.Journal of Economic Education, forthcoming. Additional files to play game: the whole bundle as a zip file

de Oliveira, Angela and Jacobson, Sarah, 2021. “(Im)patience by Proxy: Making Intertemporal Decisions for Others.Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 182, 83-99.

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. (All supplemental materials) 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, experiment data) (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. (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

Jacobson, Sarah, 2021. “Ore Money Ore Problems: A Resource Extraction Game.” Latest revision: August 2021. (Under review) (game materials)

Earnhart, Dietrich, Jacobson, Sarah, Kuwayama, Yusuke, and Woodward, Richard, 2020. “Discretionary Exemptions from Environmental Regulation: Regulatory Flexibility for Good or for Ill.” Latest revision: October 2021. (Revised and resubmitted)

Related RFF Common Resources blog post

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)

Works in Progress

“Environmental and Natural Resource Economics and Systemic Racism,” with Amy AndoTitus AwokuseNathan ChanJimena González RamírezSumeet GulatiMatthew InterisDale Manning, & Samuel Stolper. (Under review)

“Effect of Ownership Type on Deterrence: Private Ownership versus Government Ownership,” with Dietrich Earnhart.

“The Aye of the Storm: How Partisan Politics Affects the Impact of Information on Voting on Environmental Legislation,” with Jacob Shuman.

“The Disparate Impacts of Social Justice Events on Social Science Faculty,” with Mackenzie Alston. (Study website)

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

“Matching Active Learning Techniques to Learning Objectives,” with Luyao Zhang and Jiasheng Zhu.

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

“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.

Public Engagement

Here are some ways that I engage with the larger world:

  • Anything but Dismal (AbD) – a video series bringing cutting edge research by diverse economists into the intro econ classroom – we’re retooling with new plans based on feedback from our summer 2020 pilot season, so stay tuned!
  • National Economic Education Delegation (NEED) – I give short talks on the economics of climate change to whatever group wants to hear (e.g., Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis, etc.)

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