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.
Selected Academic Publications
Additional Scholarship In
Faith and Economics
Current Working Papers:
- “Sound Theology: A Solution to the Local Knowledge Problem?”
- “A Christian Defense of Liberalism” selected by AEI Values & Capitalism for inclusion in the collection “The Future of Liberalism: Christian Perspectives on the Sustainability of the Liberal Order”
Academic Book Reviews:
- Review of How to Survive the Apocalypse: Zombies, Cylons, Faith, and Politics at the End of the World, by Robert Joustra and Alissa Wilkinson in Journal of Markets & Morality, Vol. 22(1) 2019.
- Review of Counting the Cost: Christian Perspectives on Capitalism, edited by Art Lindsley and Anne Bradley in Journal of Faith and the Academy, Fall 2018.
- Review of Hayek’s Modern Family: Classical Liberalism and the Evolution of Social Institutions, by Steven Horwitz in Faith and Economics, Fall 2017.
- Review of Out of Poverty: Sweatshops in the Global Economy, by Benjamin Powell in Faith and Economics, Spring 2015.
Published Blog Posts:
- The Road to Serfdom at 75: Reflecting on Hayek’s Enduring Work
- Criminal justice reform: What is it and why does it matter?
- Criminal justice reform: What does economics have to say?
- Criminal justice reform: Possible effects of the First Step Act
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.