Sara Helms  McCarty
Margaret Gage Bush Distinguished Professor of Economics, Brock Scholars Program Coordinator
Brock School of Business
Department of Economics Finance and Quantitative Analysis
389 F Cooney Hall

Sara Helms McCarty, PhD, is a professor of economics in Brock School of Business, and is the Brock Scholars program coordinator. She teaches Principles of Microeconomics, Public Policy and Econometrics.

McCarty's research interests include applied microeconomics and public policy, particularly in the areas of volunteering, charitable giving, education policy and public health policy. She uses both traditional econometric and experimental methods.

She has presented her work at the annual meetings of regional, national and international organizations, including the American Economic Association, Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management, Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Activity, Economic Science Association, Southern Economic Association, the American Time Use Research Conference, Association for the Research of Society, Economics and Culture, and at the Institute for Studies of Labor (IZA) in Germany and the American Time Use Research Conference.

McCarty is a member of the honor fraternities Phi Beta Kappa, Beta Gamma Sigma, Omicron Delta Epsilon and Omicron Delta Kappa.

Degrees and Certifications

  • PhD, Economics, University of Maryland
  • MA, Economics, University of Maryland
  • BA, Economics and Mathematics, Summa Cum Laude, St. Mary's College of Maryland


  • Philanthropy; Volunteering and Policy Related to Service Learning and Community Service; Education Policy; Religion and Giving; Public Health Policy and Teen Pregnancy in Developing Countries; Behavioral Economics; Experimental Economics; Labor Economics

Awards and Honors

  • 2021 Brock School of Business Outstanding Faculty Service Award
  • 2019 Brock School of Business Outstanding Faculty Service Award
  • 2014 Brock School of Business Outstanding Scholarship Award
  • 2013 Brock School of Business Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award
  • 2009 University of Alabama at Birmingham Beta Gamma Sigma Professor of the Year
  • 2003 University of Maryland College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award
  • 2001 and 2002 University of Maryland Department of Economics Teaching Award


  • Hagues, R., & McCarty, S. H. (in press, 2022). Examining policies towards adolescent pregnancies across Africa: What is the relationship between religion and education policy? Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work.
  • Hagues, Rachel, and McCarty, S. (2022) The Consequences of Forcing Pregnant Girls Out of School: a Study Focused on Tanzania. Journal of Human Rights and Social Work, DOI: 10.1007/s41134-021-00186-w.
  • Kalenkoski, Charlene, and McCarty, S. (2020/2021) In or Out or Somewhere in Between? The Determinants of Gradual Retirement. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, DOI 10.1007/s10834-020-09734-4.
  • Thornton, J, Stokes, C, and McCarty, S. (2019) An Evangelical Anomaly: Religious Observance and Intertemporal Choice. Religion and Education, 46:4, 401-433, DOI: 10.1080/15507394.2019.1643216
  • McCarty, S. Helms (2018). Formation: A Symposium on Living as a Christian in Economics. Faith & Economics, 71, 25-61 (53-56).
  • McCarty, S. Helms, Angner, E., Scott, B., and Culver, S. (2017). Mandated Volunteering: An Experimental Approach. Applied Economics, available online.
  • McCarty, S. Helms, Diette, T., and Holloway, B. How Low Can You Go? An Investigation into Matching Gifts in Fundraising. (2018). Review of Behavioral Economics, 55, 23-27.
  • McCarty, S. Helms (2017). Review of Finding Time: The Economics of Work-Life Conflict by Heather Boushey. Faith & Economics, 69, 99-104.
  • Thornton, J., McCarty, S. Helms, and Stokes, C. (2017). Divine Restraint: An experimental analysis of religious preference and intertemporal discounting. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, 67, 99-110.
  • Yerkes, R., Bates, L., McCarty, S. (2016). "Implications of Tax Provision and Subsidy on Municipal Bond Yields," Journal of Investment, 25(4), 51-63.
  • Helms, S. & Diette, T. (2014). Trading the Television for a Textbook? High School Exit Exams and Student Behavior. The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, 14 (3), 22.
  • Helms, S. (2013). Involuntary Volunteerism: The Impact of Mandated Service in Public Schools. Economics of Education Review, 36, 295-310.
  • Thornton, J. & Helms, S. (2013). Afterlife Incentives in Charitable Giving. Applied Economics, 45(19), 2779-2791
  • Helms, S. & Thornton, J. (2012). The Influence of Religiosity on Charitable Behavior: A COPPS Investigation. Journal of Socio-Economics, 41, 373-383
  • Helms, S., Scott, B., & Thornton, J. (2011). Choosing to give more: experimental evidence on restricted gifts and charitable behaviour. Applied Economics Letters, 19 (8), 745-748.
  • Abraham, K., Helms, S., & Presser, S. How Social Processes Distort Measurement: The Effects of Survey Nonresponse on Inferences about Volunteer Work in the United States. American Journal of Sociology, 114 (4), January 2009: 1129-1165.