Subhrendu Pattanayak

Sanford Public Policy faculty member Subhrendu Pattanayak photographed in Rubinstein Hall for Karen Kemp.

Subhrendu K. Pattanayak is a Professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy, the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Duke Global Health Institute 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: (a) forest ecosystem services, (b) environmental health (diarrhea, malaria, respiratory infections), and (c) household energy transitions. In all domains, he has focused on 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).
Professor 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 that he teaches and from 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. In order to fund, design, and implement this research, he has collaborated closely with multi-lateral agencies, NGOs, governments, and local academics in Brazil, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the U.S. Currently, Professor Pattanayak leads a new multi‐disciplinary initiative at Duke University on household health and energy and a faculty fellow of the South Asian Network of Development and Environmental Economists.