Skip to main content

Alexander Pfaff

Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy
Sanford School of Public Policy
Box 90312, Durham, NC 27708
284 Rubenstein Hall, Box 90312, Durham, NC 27708


Alex Pfaff is a Professor of Public Policy, Economics and Environment at Duke University. He studies how economic development affects and is affected by natural resources and the environment. His focus is on the impacts of conservation policies (such as protected areas, ecoservices payments, and certifications) and development policies (such as roads and rights). Those impacts are functions of choices by individuals and communities that affect land use, water quantity and quality, human exposures (to arsenic, mercury, mining, and particulates), and both the provision and use of information.

Research accessible at

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy · 2013 - Present Sanford School of Public Policy
Professor in the Division of Environmental Sciences and Policy · 2013 - Present Environmental Sciences and Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment
Professor in the Department of Economics · 2013 - Present Economics, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Faculty Research Scholar of DuPRI's Population Research Center · 2010 - Present Duke Population Research Center, Duke Population Research Institute
Associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society · 2020 - Present Duke Science & Society, Initiatives
Affiliate of the Duke Center for International Development · 2023 - Present Duke Center for International Development, Sanford School of Public Policy

Education, Training & Certifications

Massachusetts Institute of Technology · 1995 Ph.D.
Yale University · 1988 B.A.