Research & Scholarship

Dr. Sarah Estelle

Associate Professor of Economics and Acton Institute Research Fellow

Sarah’s scholarship is comprised of two agendas, one of empirical applied microeconomics research in public and labor economics and a line of scholarship that bridges the work of Nobel Laureate economist F.A. Hayek with traditional Christian theology.

Additional Scholarship In

Faith and Economics

Current Working Papers:

Academic Book Reviews:

Published Blog Posts:

External Podcasts:

Hear from Dr. Estelle

Public Speaking Topics

Signature Lecture: "The Economic Ways of Loving"

The economic way of thinking is instructive in some of the ways we can love, too. What does economics have to say about our love for mankind? our neighbors around the globe? the least of these among us? our local communities and families?

"The Economic Way of Thinking"

To be economically literate requires neither formal training nor advanced study. For those with the inclination, the most valuable economic principles can be understood with just a little nurturing of the so-called “economic way of thinking.”

"Effective Poverty Alleviation"

What if our standard poverty relief efforts don’t work or, even more, make things worse for the materially poor? This talk will consider how recognizing the inherent dignity and value of each person can help us partner in development of individuals and communities for sustainable well-being.

"Why Hayek Should Matter to Christians"

Nobel Laureate economist F. A. Hayek is often recognized as author of the popular The Road to Serfdom or for his 20th-century opposition to interventionist John Maynard Keynes. This is an introduction to some of the main contributions of Hayek’s prolific career, many with direct relevance to people of faith.

Various topics bridging Nobel Laureate F.A. Hayek and traditional Christian theology

Though an avowed agnostic, Hayek was an admirer of religion, morality, and tradition for their roles in making the most of limited human nature. His keen observations of what Christians would consider the created order and evolving cultural institutions readily  intersect with traditional Christian theology and contemporary issues of interest to the church including wealth and poverty, family and local community, the role of the state, and economic, political, and religious liberty.

"Contemporary Ethical Issues in a Changing Labor Market"

Where policy is concerned, good intentions do not guarantee the desired outcomes. Examples can be found in minimum wage legislation, mandated paid parental leave, ban-the-box legislation, even approaches to sweatshop labor, and many aspects of education, healthcare, and workforce development.

"What We Know (and Don’t Know) About Criminal Justice Policy"

The political climate around criminal justice is no longer predominately “tough on crime” but instead emphasizes “smart justice.” What do economic theory and data reveal about how we can safeguard public safety while stewarding public resources and recognizing the inherent dignity of former offenders?

"How Globalization Erases Boundaries for the Poor"

What do people usually mean when they reference the apparent monolith “globalization?” Basic economics points to a number of potential drawbacks but also some significant benefits, particularly for the global poor.

"Principles for Workforce Development"

For many decades, U.S. public policy has been involved in specific skills training of workers, whether through funding or direct provision. Even now when unemployment rates are low, state and local governments persist in these efforts. This lecture can focus on perceived needs (e.g., the “skills gap”), typical training strategies, and/or what we know about the consequences of government involvement in this sector.

Colloquia and Seminars
  • “Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom” – This discussion-based seminar aims to understand Hayek’s argument against central planning but also his support of the rule of law, international trade, economic, political, and religious liberty, even some regulation and a universal basic income.
  • “From Smith to Friedman: Free Market Economics” – Drawing on reading selections from Smith, Bastiat, Mill, Mises, Hayek and Friedman, this discussion aims to understand the timeless arguments for free exchange and markets.

Let’s start the conversation.

Sarah Estelle, Ph. D.

Hope College
41 Graves Place
Van Zoeren Hall 177
Holland, MI 49423

Why Econ is for Lovers? Sarah’s work—and this website—isn’t just about her love for econ and a desire to share it, but rather that economics, as a tool of prudence, can help us to facilitate the Good of the other, that is to love well. (This slogan is also a whimsical reference to Sarah’s grad school home in Charlottesville as it echoes Virginia’s classic state tourism motto.)

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