Professor in the Department of Economics
Alex Pfaff is a Professor of Public Policy, Economics and Environment. Trained as an economist, he is focused on how the environment and natural resources, economic development, and a range of policies influence each other.
Research accessible at AlexPfaff.com
He has studied: impacts on forests of protected areas, incentives, roads, railroads and concessions/certification (Brazil’s Amazon, Costa Rica, United States, Panama, Madagascar, Mexico, Peru, Cameroon, Bolivia); institutional responses to water shocks (Brazil’s Northeast, Colombia, Mexico); drivers of harmful exposures (groundwater arsenic in Bangladesh, stove emissions in China & Pakistan); and incentives for firms to self-audit and disclose (United States). This applied research aims to increase the chance that policies have their intended impacts upon not only the environment but also the people affected.
- Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1995
- B.A., Yale University 1988
Herrera, Diego, Alexander Pfaff, and Juan Robalino. “Impacts of protected areas vary with the level of government: Comparing avoided deforestation across agencies in the Brazilian Amazon..” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 116, no. 30 (July 8, 2019): 14916–25. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1802877116. Full Text
Naidoo, R., D. Gerkey, D. Hole, A. Pfaff, A. M. Ellis, C. D. Golden, D. Herrera, et al. “Evaluating the impacts of protected areas on human well-being across the developing world..” Science Advances 5, no. 4 (April 3, 2019). https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aav3006. Full Text
Fisher, Brendan, Diego Herrera, Diane Adams, Helen E. Fox, Louise Gallagher, Drew Gerkey, David Gill, et al. “Can nature deliver on the sustainable development goals?.” The Lancet. Planetary Health 3, no. 3 (March 2019): e112–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/s2542-5196(18)30281-x. Full Text
Pfaff, A., L. A. Rodriguez, and E. Shapiro-Garza. “Collective Local Payments for ecosystem services: New local PES between groups, sanctions, and prior watershed trust in Mexico.” Water Resources and Economics, January 1, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wre.2019.01.002. Full Text Open Access Copy
Panlasigui, Stephanie, Stephanie Jimena Rico-Straffon, Stephanie Alexander Pfaff, Stephanie Jennifer Swenson, and Stephanie Colby Loucks. “Impacts of certification, uncertified concessions, and protected areas on forest loss in Cameroon, 2000 to 2013.” Biological Conservation. 227 (November 2018): 160–66. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2018.09.013. Full Text
Pfaff, A., J. Robalino, E. J. Reis, R. Walker, S. Perz, W. Laurance, C. Bohrer, et al. “Roads & SDGs, tradeoffs and synergies: Learning from Brazil’s Amazon in distinguishing frontiers.” Economics 12 (March 5, 2018). https://doi.org/10.5018/economics-ejournal.ja.2018-11. Full Text
Tesfaw, Anteneh T., Alexander Pfaff, Rachel E. Golden Kroner, Siyu Qin, Rodrigo Medeiros, and Michael B. Mascia. “Land-use and land-cover change shape the sustainability and impacts of protected areas..” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 115, no. 9 (February 12, 2018): 2084–89. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1716462115. Full Text
Pfaff, A., M. A. Velez, K. Broad, A. Hamoudi, and R. Taddei. “Contracts versus trust for transfers of ecosystem services: Equity and efficiency in resource allocation and environmental provision.” Water Resources and Economics, January 1, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wre.2018.04.001. Full Text
Kaczan, D., A. Pfaff, L. Rodriguez, and E. Shapiro-Garza. “Increasing the impact of collective incentives in payments for ecosystem services.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 86 (November 1, 2017): 48–67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeem.2017.06.007. Full Text Open Access Copy
Herrera, Diego, Alicia Ellis, Brendan Fisher, Christopher D. Golden, Kiersten Johnson, Mark Mulligan, Alexander Pfaff, Timothy Treuer, and Taylor H. Ricketts. “Upstream watershed condition predicts rural children's health across 35 developing countries..” Nature Communications 8, no. 1 (October 9, 2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-00775-2. Full Text
Pfaff, A., G. S. Amacher, E. O. Sills, M. J. Coren, C. Streck, and K. Lawlor. “Deforestation and Forest Degradation: Concerns, Causes, Policies, and Their Impacts.” In Encyclopedia of Energy, Natural Resource, and Environmental Economics, 2–3:144–49, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-375067-9.00052-8. Full Text
Robalino, J., A. Pfaff, and L. Villalobos. “Assessing the impact of institutional design of payments for environmental services: The costa rican experience.” In Ecosystem Services from Agriculture and Agroforestry: Measurement and Payment, 305–18, 2012. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781849775656. Full Text
Pfaff, A., and J. Robalino. “Human choices and policies' impacts on ecosystem services: Improving evaluations of payment and park effects on conservation and carbon.” In Avoided Deforestation: Prospects for Mitigating Climate Change, 192–207, 2009. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203880999. Full Text
Perz, S., J. P. Messina, E. Reis, R. Walker, and S. J. Walsh. “Scenarios of future Amazonian landscapes: Econometric and dynamic simulation models,” 186:83–100, 2009. https://doi.org/10.1029/2008GM000736. Full Text
Robalino, J. A., A. Pfaff, and A. Sanchez-Azofeifa. “Estimating spatial interactions in deforestation decisions.” In Biodiversity Economics, 92–114, 2007. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511551079.006. Full Text
Kerr, Suzi, Shuguang Liu, Alexander Pfaff, and Flint Hughes. “Carbon Dynamics and Land-use Choices: Building a Regional-scale Multidisciplinary Model,” September 3, 2003.
Rico, Jimena, Stephanie Panlasigui, Colby J. Loucks, Jennifer Swenson, and Alexander Pfaff. “Logging concessions, certification and protected areas in the Peruvian Amazon: forest impacts from development rights and land-use restrictions,” n.d.
Kerr, Suzi, Joanna Hendy, Shuguang Liu, and Alexander Pfaff. “Tropical Forest Protection, Uncertainty, and the Environmental Integrity of Carbon Mitigation Policies,” n.d.
Robalino, Juan, Alexander Pfaff, and Laura Villalobos. “Deforestation spillovers from Costa Rican protected areas,” n.d.
Chen, Y., A. van Geen, J. Graziano, A. Pfaff, Z. Cheng, V. Slavkovich, T. Islam, F. Parvez, and H. Ahsan. “The Effectiveness of a Multidisciplinary Community-Based Mitigation Program in Reducing Arsenic Exposure in Araihazar, Bangladesh.” In American Journal of Epidemiology, 163:S115–S115. Oxford University Press (OUP), 2006. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/163.suppl_11.s115-d. Full Text
Geen, Alexander van, Matilde Trevisani, John Immel, Andrew Gelman, Amy Schoenfeld, Alex Pfaff, and Kazi Matin Ahmed. “Targeting low-arsenic aquifers for the installation of community wells in Bangladesh.” In Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 231. AMER CHEMICAL SOC, 2006.
Sustainable Landscapes and Forest Enterprise Cluster Program in Brazil awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2020
Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED2) awarded by Columbia University (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2015
Forest Impacts of Certification awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2015
Conservation Policy Impacts in Tropical Dry Forest awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2007 to 2011
LBA Book Project awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2009 to 2010