- PhD, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2008
Sarah Parrales received her PhD in Ecological Economics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2008 with research focused on the microeconomic theory and practice of Daniel Kahneman’s concept of Experienced Utility applied to poverty and underdevelopment in Central America. Dr. Parrales’ early education includes an MSc degree from Virginia Tech in Wood Science and Forest Products and a BSc degree from Penn State in Forest Science.
Much of her undergraduate and post-graduate education included research on the economics of forest products in developing areas, such as rural southwest Virginia, India and Israel, and the influence of this trade on political and social relations among communities. While working as a Fulbright Scholar in Nicaragua, Dr. Parrales studied trade of non-timber forest products such as medicinal plants, wildlife, and furniture and its role in the sustenance and growth of local economies. Dr. Parrales also has work experience in the paper industry, where she was involved in procurement of raw material and its quality control and interacted frequently with the highly competitive logging and sawmill firms of central Pennsylvania.
Currently, Dr. Parrales teaches courses in micro, macroeconomics, money, and banking at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she holds the position of Lecturer in Economics. Research interests include economics education, economic development, supply and demand of forest products and related physical capital and technologies, and international trade of timber and non-timber forest products. A present focus involves the study of supply and demand for waste biomass material destined for various regional and foreign energy industries and competitive dynamics of logging and sawmill firms in relation to macroeconomic indicators.