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Susan Stratton Sayre

Associate Professor of Economics

Susan Sayre


Wright Hall 219


Susan Stratton Sayre's research uses numerical simulation and dynamic optimization techniques to investigate water policy in a variety of settings. Her recent projects focus on the downside risk of climate change in the California Central Valley agricultural sector, how the possibility of improved information influences optimal current payments for hydrological ecosystem services, the impact of endogenous investment in well deepening on groundwater externalities, and the impact of mistrust on negotiations over the future of California’s Sacramento San Joaquin delta.

Sayre's teaching interests reflect her joint interests in economic theory and environmental issues. She teaches intermediate microeconomics, an upper-level elective on mathematical economic models, and both elective and seminar courses on the economics of the environment and natural resources. Sayre is also an active participant in both the Environmental Science & Policy major and the Climate Change Concentration, and she regularly teaches a course on communicating information for environmental science and policy majors.

Selected Publications

Spatial Microsimulation of Carbon Tax Incidence: An Application to Washington State Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, Vol. 11, Num. 4 (2024): 959-997 (with Nathan W. Chan)

"Carbon pricing approaches for climate decisions in U.S. higher education: Proxy carbon prices for deep decarbonization," Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene Vol. 8 (2020) (with Alex R. Barron, Breanna J. Parker '18, Shana S. Weber, and Dano J. Weisbord)

Groundwater depletion in India: Social losses from costly well deepening," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Vol. 93 (2019): 85-100 (with Vis Taraz).

Pay for the Option to Pay? The Impact of Future Improvements in Scientific Information on Payments for Ecosystem Services,” Environmental and Resource Economics, Vol. 73 (2019): 591-625.

Modeling Negotiations Over Water and Ecosystem Management: Uncertainty and Political Viability,” Strategic Behavior and the Environment Vol. 6, 1-2 (2016): 73-134 (with Rachael Goodhue and Leo Simon).

The downside risk of climate change in California’s Central Valley agricultural sector,” Climatic Change Vol. 137, 1 (2016): 15-27 (with W. Michael Hanemann and Larry Dale).

Ecosystem services: Challenges and opportunities for hydrologic modeling to support decision making,” Water Resources Research Vol. 50, 5 (2014): 4535-4544 (with Andrew J. Guswa, Kate A. Brauman, Casey Brown, Perrine Hamel, and Bonnie L. Keeler).

Bargaining and Devolution in the Upper Guadiana Basin,” Environmental and Resource Economics, Vol. 51, 3 (2012): 453-470 (with Carmen Marchiori and Leo Simon).

On the Implementation and Performance of Water Rights Buyback Schemes,” Water Resource Management Vol. 26 (2012): 2799–2816 (with Carmen Marchiori and Leo Simon).

Local Negotiation with Heterogeneous Groundwater Users,” Strategic Behavior and the Environment, Vol. 2, 1 (2011): 61-82 (with Gordon Rausser and Leo Simon).

Property Rights and Water Transfers: Bargaining Among Multiple Stakeholders,” Strategic Behavior and the Environment, Vol. 1, 1 (2011): 1-29 (with Gordon Rausser and Leo Simon).

Office Hours

Spring 2024

Monday 1:40-2:40 p.m.
Thursday 1:15-2:15 p.m.


Ph.D., M.S., University of California, Berkeley
B.A., Swarthmore College

Personal website

Selected Works in Smith ScholarWorks