Portrait of Luke Sanford

Luke Sanford

Assistant Professor of Environmental Policy and Governance

I am an Assistant Professor of Environmental Policy and Governance at Yale School of the Environment. I graduated in 2021 with a PhD in Political Science and International Affairs from the Political Science department and the School of Global Policy and Strategy. My work focuses on environmental policymaking–especially how political institutions mediate the relationship between the environmental preferences of constituents and the incentives and actions of policymakers. I also study the distributional consequences over space and time of decisions about natural resources, and how those play in to policymaking. I develop methods for using new sources of digital data, including text and satellite images, to measure individual and group preferences, and to observe outcomes on the ground. I use those to help understand preferences for different policies, and what the effects of those policies are. 

On leave for the Spring 2024 semester

Research Topics
  • Political institutions and environmental policy

  • Remote sensing and machine learning

  • Economic development and environmental protection

  • Causal inference and econometrics


Ph.D. Political Science and International Affairs, University of California San Diego;
M.A. Political Science, University of California San Diego, School of Global Policy and Strategy;
B.A. Politics, Whitman College


Luke Sanford in the News