Subhrendu K. Pattanayak is the Oak Professor of Environmental and Energy Policy at Duke University. He studies the causes and consequences of human behaviors related to the natural environment to help design and evaluate policy interventions in low-income tropical countries. His research is in three domains at the intersection of environment, development, health, and energy: forest ecosystem services, environmental health (diarrhea, malaria, respiratory infections) and household energy transitions. He has focused on the design of institutions and policies that are motivated by enormous inequities and a range of efficiency concerns (externalities, public goods, and imperfect information and competition).
Dr. Pattanayak approaches these problems through systematic reviews of the literature (meta-analyses) and statistical modeling with high-resolution objective data collected in the field. He then uses those data to test hypotheses salient to policy manipulation, developed both from economic frameworks, stakeholder discussions and direct observations in the field. He employs empirical methods that exploit quasi-experimental variation (or experiments where feasible and appropriate), captured through household, community and institutional surveys. He typically matches these survey data with meso-scale secondary statistics and estimates, econometric models, to generate policy parameters. Dr. Pattanayak has collaborated closely with multi-lateral agencies, NGOs, governments, and local academics in Brazil, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the U.S.