Shana Starobin

Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Government

Teaching this semester

ENVS 2330/GOV 2910. Environmental Policy and Politics

Explores the political, economic, legal, ethical, and institutional dimensions of the environmental policy-making process. Examines the formation and implementation of regulatory institutions and policies across a range of issues in the U.S. and internationally--including terrestrial, coastal and marine natural resources management, biodiversity, water and air pollution, sustainable development, and environmental justice. Prepares students to analyze historical cases as well as contrive and evaluate competing policy alternatives to emerging problems.

ENVS 3908/GOV 3430. Private Actors, Public Goods: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Comparative Perspective

From fair trade chocolate to Kimberly Process certified diamonds, voluntary sustainability initiatives increasingly "govern" complex trans-border trade -- to minimize environmental damages and human rights abuses exacerbated by globalization, especially when states prove incapable or unwilling to do so. Intensive in reading, research, and discussion, adopts a commodity-centered lens to examine transnational trade in comparative perspective. Students explore how global value chains -- like "fast fashion" from Bangladesh and cell phones from China -- defy conventional notions of political, geographic, and ecological boundaries and prompt a shift from "government" to "governance."

Shana Starobin is Assistant Professor of Government and Environmental Studies at Bowdoin College and a Fellow of the Penn Program on Regulation at the University of Pennsylvania Law School (2015-2017). Her research centers on the politics of transnational business regulation and institutional innovation in global environmental governance. Shana's current book project--Alternatives to Transnational Sustainability Governance in the Global South—examines how producers of agricultural commodities from developing and emerging economies engage as active and innovative policy actors in the regulation and governance of natural resources, with comparative cases from Latin America. Shana holds her Ph.D. and two masters degrees in Environment and Public Policy from Duke University. 


  • Ph.D., Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University; Durham, North Carolina
  • Master of Public Policy, Terry Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University; Durham, North Carolina
  • Master of Environmental Management, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University; Durham, North Carolina
  • A.B, History and Science, magna cum laude, Harvard College; Cambridge, MA

Selected Publications

Coglianese, Cary and Starobin, Shana (forthcoming 2017). “Management-Based Regulation,” in Policy Instruments in Environmental Law, edited by Kenneth Richards and Josephine van Zeben. Edward Elgar.

Levi Faur, David and Starobin, Shana (2014). Transnational Politics and Policy: From Two-Way to Three-Way Interactions. Jerusalem Papers in Regulation and Governance, Paper No. 62, February 2014.

Starobin, Shana M. (2013) “Global Companies as Agents of Globalization,” in The Handboo of Global Companies, edited by John Mikler. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Oxford, UK.

Starobin, Shana. (2012) "Tackling Information Problems in Agri-food Governance: The Role of Eco labels and Third Party Certification Schemes.” In Handbook of Environmental Leadership: A Reference Handbook, edited by Deborah R. Gallagher. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc.

Starobin, Shana and Weinthal, Erika (2010) "The Search for Credible Information inSocial and Environmental Global Governance: The Kosher Label," Business and Politics: Vol. 12: Iss. 3.


Links and Public Outreach

Penn News Today: Penn Researchers Look to Cuba for Sustainability and Agroecology in Practice,

The Regulatory Review: Recalculating the true value of private certifications

Duke Environment Magazine: What’s behind the label?

U.S. News, Associated Press: Food labels multiply, some confuse consumers

Kenan Institute for Ethics: Good Question: What should we eat?