Sarah A. Jacobson

Associate Professor of Economics
Schapiro Hall Rm 205

Office Hours: by request (on leave Spring 2018)


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


Note: courses in gray are not offered this academic year.

ECON 251(F)

Price and Allocation Theory

ECON 477 / ENVI 376

Economics of Environmental Behavior

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 Research

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)

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

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 spreadsheet, editable instructions and recording sheet, instructors’ 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…”).

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

Delaney, Jason, Jacobson, Sarah, and Moenig, Thorsten, 2017. “Preference Discovery.” (formerly circulated as “Discovered Preferences for Risky and Non-Risky Goods.”) Latest revision: March 2017. Revise and resubmit.

de Oliveira, Angela and Jacobson, Sarah, 2017. “(Im)patience by Proxy: Making Intertemporal Decisions for Others.” Latest revision: July 2017.

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

Works in Progress

“Money Growing on Trees: A Classroom Game About Payments for Environmental Services in Community Forestry,” with Sahan Dissanayake.

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

“Do Regulated Entities Update their Enforcement Perceptions During Regulatory Leadership Transitions?” with Dietrich Earnhart and William Katz.

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

“Do Risk Preferences Need to Be Discovered?” with Jason Delaney & Thorsten Moenig.

“Private versus Public Security on the High Seas: The Roles of Risk Preferences, Social Preferences, and Beliefs,” with Gregory DeAngelo.

“Variances: Regulatory Flexibility for Good or for Ill,” with Dietrich Earnhart, Yusuke Kuwayama, & Richard Woodward.

“Adaptation Practice Adoption under Uncertainty: A Classroom Game,” with Babatunde Abidoye and Sahan T. M. Dissanayake.


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 that I’ve made for my students 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