Sarah A. Jacobson

Photo of Sarah A. Jacobson

Professor of Economics

Schapiro Hall Rm 205
At Williams since 2010

My office is on the second floor of Schapiro, across the hall from the north stairwell. I have drop-in office hours Thursdays 9am-noon, and you can book Zoom or in person office hours with me here. Email me if you want to meet and don’t see a time that works for you.

I use she/her pronouns.

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

Current Committees

  • Honor and Discipline Committee

Fields of Specialization

Environmental Economics
Experimental Economics

Publications – Peer-Reviewed

Jacobson, Sarah, 2023. “Ore Money Ore Problems: A Resource Extraction Game.” Journal of Economic Education, 54(2), 158-176. (game materials)

Ando, AmyAwokuse, TitusChan, NathanGonzález Ramírez, JimenaGulati, SumeetInteris, Matthew, Jacobson, Sarah, Manning, Dale, and Stolper, Samuel, 2022. “Environmental and Natural Resource Economics and Systemic Racism.” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Accepted.

Earnhart, Dietrich, Jacobson, Sarah, Kuwayama, Yusuke, and Woodward, Richard, 2022. “Discretionary Exemptions from Environmental Regulation: Regulatory Flexibility for Good or for Ill.” Land Economics, Forthcoming.

Related RFF Common Resources blog post

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)

Winner of the 2022 AETR Outstanding Article Award.

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, and Luedtke, Allison, 2023. “Games in the Classroom: A Symposium.” Journal of Economic Education, 54(2), 126-127.

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

Alston, Mackenzie, and Jacobson, Sarah, 2023. “Black Lives Matter for Productivity: Heterogeneous Impacts of the 2020 Social Justice Movement on Faculty.” Latest revision: March 2023. (Previously circulated as “The Disparate Impacts of Social Justice Events on Social Science Faculty”) (Study website) (Under review)

Jacobson, Sarah, Zhang, Luyao, and Zhu, Jiasheng, 2023. “The Right Tool for the Job: Matching Active Learning Techniques to Learning Objectives.” Latest revision: March 2023. (Under review)

Earnhart, Dietrich, and Jacobson, Sarah, 2022. “How Does the Deterrence Effect of Regulatory Enforcement Differ between Privately and Government-Owned Facilities?” Latest revision: August 2022. (Under review)

Aquino, Patrick, Gazzale, Robert, and Jacobson, Sarah, 2022. “Punishment in Gift Exchange: Carrots, Sticks, Trust, and Incentives” Latest revision: March 2022. (formerly circulated as “When Do Punishment Institutions Work?”) (Experiment instructions: Ex AnteEx Post StrategyEx Post Direct)

Works in Progress

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

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

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

“Racial Differences in School Water Lead Exposure,” with Todd Guilfoos and Elaine Hill.

“The Effect of Institutional Responses to the Pandemic and Social Justice Movement on Faculty Job Attachment,” with Mackenzie Alston. (Study website)

“Refund Institutions in a Compound Threshold Public Good Game,” with John Spraggon.

“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