Dr. Sarah Estelle

Associate Professor of Economics and Ruch Faculty Fellow
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Sarah Estelle is an associate professor of economics at Hope College. She extends the theories and empirical techniques of microeconomics to questions located along the "imperialist" frontier of economic research. She is interested in policy in general, but especially education choices, risky health behaviors and parents' investments in children.

Sarah's current research projects include empirical studies of the effect of a mother's college enrollment on her school-aged children, the influence of a mother's conversations about sexual activity with a teen on the daughter's risky behavior and the social costs of felony sentencing.

She is the founding director of Hope's Markets and Morality student organization, which explores economic issues through a Christian lens and brings speakers and film screenings to campus to enrich the Hope community's understanding of markets. Sarah is also director of Klesis (Greek for "calling") at Hope College, which encourages students to consider attending graduate school through the lens of vocation and Christian service.

Areas of expertise

  • Economics of education
  • Labor economics
  • Public economics
  • Applied microeconomics


  • Ph.D., economics, University of Virginia, 2008
  • B.A., economics, Hillsdale College, 2000

Honors, grants and awards

  • Ruch Faculty Fellow in the Department of Economics and Business, 2015–present
  • Charles Koch Foundation Grants, 2013–14 and 2014–15
  • Jacob E. Nyenhuis Faculty Development Grant for Faculty-Student Collaborative Research, 2013, 2014
  • American Educational Research Association Dissertation Grant, 2006–07
  • Fellow, Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training Program in Education Science, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, 2004–06

Selected publications

  • “Will Daughters Walk Mom’s Talk? The Effects of Maternal Communication about Sex on the Sexual Behavior of Female Adolescents,” Review of Economics of the Household, December 2014
  • “The Relative Contract Position of School Teachers: An Analysis of Public Union vs. Non-Union Schools,” Data Envelopment Analysis Journal, October 2014
  • “The Academic Impact on Children of Maternal Post-Secondary Enrollment,” Economics of Education Review, April 2011
  • “Three-Stage DEA Models for Incorporating Exogenous Inputs,” Computers and Operations Research, June 2010

Peer Reviewed Book Chapter

  • “The Economics of Title IX Compliance in Collegiate Athletics” in Handbook on the Economics of Women’s Sports, Edward Elgar, 2013

Book Review

  • Out of Poverty: Sweatshops in the Global Economy, by Benjamin Powell, Spring 2015

View more of Sarah’s published work on Digital Commons.

Outside the college

Sarah, a native of Traverse City, Michigan, lives with her husband Aaron in Holland, where they enjoy all the natural beauty, local foods and friendly people West Michigan has to offer.

She is affiliated with American Economic Association, Association of Christian Economists, Southern Economic Association, Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession, Mackinac Center for Public Policy Board of Scholars and is a Values and Capitalism Academic Ally.

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Dr. Sarah Estelle

Phone Number616.395.7571

VanZoeren Hall 177 41 Graves Place Holland, MI 49423-3617
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