Areas of Expertise
PhD (Economics), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1995
BA (Applied Math/Economics) summa cum laude, Yale University, 1988
Representative Publications (More Publications)
Alexander Pfaff, PhD, is an associate professor of public policy, economics and environment at Duke University’s Sanford Institute of Public Policy. He is an environment and natural-resource economist whose work frequently focuses on developing countries.
His current research examines the impacts of roads, protected areas and payments for ecosystem services on deforestation (Brazilian Amazon, Costa Rica, Mexico); what drives decisions that lower harmful exposures, such as to indoor emissions (Pakistan, Tanzania, Ghana) and arsenic in drinking water (Bangladesh); how households respond to climate and water shocks in daily production decisions and when faced with new tradeoffs by water policies (N.E. Brazil); and how regulators might shift the incentives for firms to provide environmental information. The goal of his applied research is to raise the chance that interventions have their intended impacts on the environment and natural resources while benefiting the people they are designed to help.
Pfaff’s work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (Methods and Models for Integrated Assessment (MMIA) and Human and Social Dynamics (HSD)); NOAA (Office of Global Programs (OGP)), NASA (integrated Amazonia program (LBA)); The Tinker Foundation (focused upon Latin America) and NCEAS (National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis). It has involved theses for undergraduates, master's students and PhD candidates in economics, anthropology, ecology, public policy and environmental management.