Steven E. Sexton

Steven E. Sexton

Assistant Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy

External Address: 
201 Science Drive, 184 Rubinstein Hall, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
201 Science Drive, 184 Rubinstein Hall, Durham, NC 27708
(919) 613-9348

Sexton holds a Ph.D. in environmental and resource economics from UC Berkeley and is assistant professor of public policy and economics at Duke University. He is also a faculty fellow of the Duke University Energy Initiative. His research focuses on energy industry organization and energy policy, as well as environmental and transportation policy, particularly as they pertain to carbon emissions reductions. Relying on econometric methods and insights from behavioral economics, Sexton has evaluated air pollution control policy, policy for rooftop solar technology adoption, the environmental impacts of local foods and genetically engineered crops, and household electricity consumption. Current areas of interest include shale resource development and renewable technology adoption. His research is published in leading economics and environmental economics journals, including Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, and Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. His research has been featured by U.S. and international media outlets, including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, Der Spiegel, The Australian,, Elle Australia, and Men’s Health. A past contributor to the Freakonomics blog, he is a former Executive Fellow in the Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.


  • Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley 2012
  • M.S., University of California at Berkeley 2009
  • A.B., University of California at Berkeley 2004

Sexton, S. "Automatic Bill Payment and Salience Effects: Evidence from Electricity Consumption." Review of Economics and Statistics 97, no. 2 (May 2015): 229-241. Full Text

Sexton, SE, and Sexton, AL. "Conspicuous conservation: The Prius halo and willingness to pay for environmental bona fides." Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 67, no. 3 (May 2014): 303-317. Full Text

Sexton, SE. "Paying for Pollution? How General Equilibrium Effects Undermine the “Spare the Air” Program." Environmental and Resource Economics 53, no. 4 (December 2012): 553-575. Full Text

Sexton, SE, and Zilberman, D. "Biotechnology and biofuel." Frontiers of Economics and Globalization 10 (January 1, 2011): 225-242. Full Text

Zilberman, D, Sexton, SE, Marra, MC, and Fernandez-Cornejo, J. "The Economic Impact of Genetically Engineered Crops." 25, no. 2 (2010).

Hochman, G, Sexton, SE, and Zilberman, DD. "The economics of biofuel policy and biotechnology." Journal of Agricultural and Food Industrial Organization 6, no. 2 (December 1, 2008).

Saitone, TL, Sexton, RJ, and Sexton, SE. "Market power in the corn sector: How does it affect the impacts of the ethanol subsidy?." Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 33, no. 2 (August 1, 2008): 169-194.

Rajagopal, D, Sexton, SE, Roland-Holst, D, and Zilberman, D. "Challenge of biofuel: filling the tank without emptying the stomach?." Environmental Research Letters 2, no. 4 (October 2007): 044004-044004. Full Text

Sexton, SE, Lei, Z, and Zilberman, D. "The Economics of Pesticides and Pest Control." 1, no. 3 (September 2007): 271-326.

Selected Grants

Using Behavioral Science to Target LMI and High-Value Solar Installations awarded by Yale University (Investigator). 2017 to 2018