Steven E. Sexton

Steven E. Sexton

Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics

External Address: 
201 Science Drive, Rm 252, Box 90312, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90312, 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 - Berkeley 2012
  • M.S., University of California - Berkeley 2009
  • A.B., University of California - Berkeley 2004

Harding, Matthew, and Steven Sexton. “Household Response to Time-Varying Electricity Prices.” Annual Review of Resource Economics 9, no. 1 (October 5, 2017): 337–59. Full Text

Sexton, Steven. “Automatic Bill Payment and Salience Effects: Evidence from Electricity Consumption.” Review of Economics and Statistics 97, no. 2 (May 2015): 229–41. Full Text

Sexton, S. E., and A. L. Sexton. “Conspicuous conservation: The Prius halo and willingness to pay for environmental bona fides.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 67, no. 3 (January 1, 2014): 303–17. Full Text

Sexton, S. E. “Paying for Pollution? How General Equilibrium Effects Undermine the "Spare the Air" Program.” Environmental and Resource Economics 53, no. 4 (January 1, 2012): 553–75. Full Text

Sexton, S. E., and D. Zilberman. “Biotechnology and biofuel.” Frontiers of Economics and Globalization 10 (January 1, 2011): 225–42. Full Text

Zilberman, David, Steven E. Sexton, Michele C. Marra, and Jorge Fernandez-Cornejo. “The Economic Impact of Genetically Engineered Crops” 25, no. 2 (2010).

Saitone, T. L., R. J. Sexton, and S. E. Sexton. “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): 169–94.

Hochman, G., S. E. Sexton, and D. D. Zilberman. “The economics of biofuel policy and biotechnology.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Industrial Organization 6, no. 2 (January 1, 2008). Full Text

Rajagopal, D., S. E. Sexton, D. Roland-Holst, and D. Zilberman. “Challenge of biofuel: Filling the tank without emptying the stomach?Environmental Research Letters 2, no. 4 (October 1, 2007). Full Text

Sexton, Steven E., Zhen Lei, and David Zilberman. “The Economics of Pesticides and Pest Control” 1, no. 3 (September 2007): 271–326.

Barrows, Geoffrey, Steven Sexton, and David Zilberman. “The Impact of Agricultural Biotechnology on Supply and Land-Use,” June 14, 2013.

Saitone, Tina L., Richard J. Sexton, and Steven E. Sexton. “Effects of Market Power on the Size and Distribution of Subsidy Benefits: The Case of Ethanol Promotion,” 2007.

Selected Grants

Using Behavioral Science to Target LMI and High-Value Solar Installations awarded by Yale University (Investigator). 2017 to 2019