Sarah Brown 201006sarahbrown.jpg

Professor of Economics

Room 531
9 Mappin Street
S1 4DT, UK

Tel +44 (0)114 222 3404
Fax +44 (0)114 222 3458



Sarah graduated from the University of Hull in 1989 and gained her MA in Economics at the University of Warwick in 1990 and her PhD from the University of Loughborough and was appointed to a lectureship there in 1994. Sarah was promoted to a senior lectureship in 2001 at the University of Leicester. She took up a Chair in Economics at the University of Sheffield in 2005 and was Head of Department from 2006 to 2011.

Sarah is a Research Fellow at the IZA (Institute for the Study of Labour, Bonn) and an Associate Fellow at the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI). She has been a member of the Department for Work and Pensions Steering Committee for the Work, Pensions and Labour Economics Study Group (WPEG) since 2001.

Sarah was a member of the Grant Assessment Panel C of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) from 2010 to 2013, a member of the REF 2014 Economics & Econometrics Sub-Panel, a member of the Women's Committee of the Royal Economic Society from 2010 to 2015, a member of the Steering Group of the Royal Economic Society Conference of Heads of University Departments of Economics from 2010 to 2016 and a member of the Royal Economic Society Council from 2013 to 2018.

In 2012 Sarah was awarded a two-year Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship for a project entitled Household Finances, Intergenerational Attitudes and Social Interaction.

In March 2015, Sarah was appointed as an Independent Member of the Low Pay Commission. 


"I am currently the module leader for Classical and Contemporary Thinkers in Economics, which introduces students a wide range of approaches to economics, from Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes through to Amartya Sen and Daniel Kahneman. This module helps students to understand the historical roots of the discipline, as well as, contemporary developments in economics.”

“I also teach on the postgraduate module in Microeconomic Analysis, which explores the behaviour of individuals, households and firms, and their interactions. It is particularly important to understand how such agents make decisions and how they respond to changes in their environment from the perspective of economic policy.”

“My approach to teaching entails not only introducing students to traditional as well as recent advances in economic analysis but also to develop critical evaluation skills so that students can assess alternative theories and approaches and consider possible areas of improvement, as well as their current and practical relevance.”

"My approach to teaching explicitly links teaching and research. Students are not just presented with a fixed set of theories or one approach to economics– they are encouraged to evaluate different approaches so that they learn about and engage with the process of research."

Research summary

Sarah's research interests lie in the area of applied microeconometrics focusing on labour economics, the economics of education and household financial decision-making. Her research has focused on individual, household and firm-level data as well as matched workplace-employee data.

Current projects include a Leverhulme Trust funded project on ‘The impact of austerity policies on the wellbeing of individuals in Europe’ (with A. Montagnoli, M. Moro and A. Kontonikas) and an Australian Research Council funded project on ‘Modelling health: reporting behaviour and misclassification using survey data’ (with Mark Harris, Pratima P Srivastava, and William H Greene.)

Examples of past research projects include empirical analysis of the reservation wages of the unemployed (funded by the ESRC) and empirical analysis of wage growth, human capital and risk aversion (funded by the Leverhulme Trust).

PhD student supervision

Sarah is interested in supervising PhD students in applied microeconometrics.


Brown S, Harris, M , Srivastava, P & Zhang, X (2016) Modelling illegal drug participation. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. View this article in WRRO

Mukherji A, Roychoudhury S, Ghosh P & Brown S (2016) Estimating Health Demand for an Aging Population: A Flexible and Robust Bayesian Joint Model. Journal of Applied Econometrics, 31(6), 1140-1158. View this article in WRRO

Brown S, Ghosh P & Taylor KB (2016) Household Finances and Social Interaction: Bayesian Analysis of Household Panel Data. Review of Income and Wealth, 62(3), 467-488. View this article in WRRO

Brown S & Gray D (2016) Household finances and well-being in Australia: An empirical analysis of comparison effects. Journal of Economic Psychology, 53, 17-36. View this article in WRRO

Brown S & Taylor KB (2016) Early influences on saving behaviour: Analysis of British panel data. Journal of Banking and Finance, 62, 1-14. View this article in WRRO

View all of Sarah Brown's publications