||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2012)|
Bina Agarwal at the World Economic Forum on India 2012
|Field||Gender Equality, bargaining approach, cooperative conflict|
|Alma mater||University of Cambridge, University of Delhi|
|Awards||Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize 1996, Edgar Graham Book Prize 1996, The K. H. Batheja Award 1995-96|
Bina Agarwal is a prize-winning development economist and Director and Professor of Economics at the Institute of Economic Growth in Delhi. She has written extensively on land, livelihoods and property rights; environment and development; the political economy of gender; poverty and inequality; legal change; and agriculture and technological transformation. Among her best known works is the award-winning book—A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia—which has had a significant impact on governments, NGOs, and international agencies in promoting women's rights in land and property. This work has also inspired research in Latin America and globally.
Concepts and areas of focus
Agarwal writes and researches on a range of subjects dealing with the rural economy. She has creatively used diverse methodologies (from econometric analysis to qualitative assessments) and an interdisciplinary approach, to provide insights on land, livelihoods and property rights; environment and development; the political economy of gender; poverty and inequality; law; and agriculture and technological change. She deals especially with the connectedness of gender inequality, social exclusion, property, and development. Her pioneering work has had an impact globally both within the academia and among policy makers and practitioners. A large part of her work compares countries, especially within South Asia. In A Field of One’s Own (Cambridge University Press, 1994), her most famous work, Agarwal stresses that “the single most important factor affecting women’s situation is the gender gap in command over property.”
Spurred on by Agarwal’s work, and the successful movement she led in 2004-2005, Indian policy makers passed the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act in 2005. This Act gives all Hindu women (married and unmarried) equal rights with men in the ownership and inheritance of property, in particular agricultural land.
Agarwal has consistently challenged standard economic analysis and assumptions. In her writings on the “bargaining approach” to intra-family relations, she challenges unitary household models and extends formal bargaining models to highlight the importance of social norms, social perceptions and property ownership in determining women’s bargaining power. She also demonstrates the interconnectedness of the family, the community, the market and the state in determining a person’s bargaining power in any one sphere. Her paper “Bargaining and Gender Relations” is the single most downloaded paper to date in the journal Feminist Economics. In another article “Bargaining and Legal Change,” Agarwal examines how women in India were able to bargain with the State to pass the inheritance laws of 1956 and bring about its amendment in 2005.
In another important extension of her work on gender, property and power, Agarwal demonstrates in her empirically rigours article “Towards Freedom from Domestic Violence”, that women’s ability to own and inherit land acts as a significant deterrent against marital violence. Her recent books include: Psychology, Rationality and Economic Behaviour (coedited; Palgrave, 2005), Capabilities, Freedom and Equality (co-edited, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 2006). Her most recently authored book is Gender and Green Governance (Oxford University Press, Oxford and Delhi, 2010) which has been widely cited and favourably reviewed in both academic journals and the popular press. (EPW and Indian Express)
Positions and awards
Bina Agarwal has held distinguished positions at many international universities, including Harvard (she was the first Daniel Ingalls Visiting Professor), the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), the University of Minnesota (where she held the Winton Chair), and the New York University School of Law. In 2006-07, Agarwal was also a Visiting Research Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University. In addition, she has been Vice President of the International Economic Association, President of the International Association for Feminist Economics, and on the board of the Global Development Network. Agarwal is a founding member of the Indian Society for Ecological Economics. She is one of only two women who served on the Commission for the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, chaired by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and set up by President Sarkozy. She has also been consultant to the Planning Commission of India and is on the editorial boards of several international academic journals.
In 2009 Agarwal was nominated to the board of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) – such nominations are approved by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). On March 29, 2010 the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) awarded her the 2010 Leontief Prize – an annual award named after Nobel Laureate Wassily Leontief. GDAE Co-Director Neva Goodwin wrote: “Bina Agarwal embodies the kind of theoretically rigorous, empirically grounded, and policy-oriented economics that the Leontief Prize was created to recognize,” and “Her contributions to both scholarship and policy on economic development, the environment, well-being, and gender have been an inspiration to GDAE for many years.” She is the currently president-elect of the International Society for Ecological Economics. She also heads a “Working Group on Disadvantaged Farmers, including Women” for India’s 12th Five Year Plan, and is on the Indian Prime Minister’s Panel on Land Reform. Additionally, Agarwal is on the advisory board for Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP).
- First Ramesh Chandra Agrawal Award 2005 for Outstanding Contributions to Agricultural Economics.
- Malcolm Adiseshiah Award 2002 for Distinguished Contributions to Development Studies.
- AWARDS for A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia:
- Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize 1996, given by the Association for Asian Studies (USA) (First South Asian to win the prize.)
- Edgar Graham Book Prize 1996, given every two years by The University of London’s the Department of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies.
- The K. H. Batheja Award 1995-96 given every two years by Bombay University and the Batheja Trust awarding the most deserving works about India and Development.
- The Institute of Social Studies (ISS) awarded Professor Bina Agarwal with an honorary doctorate in 2007 and the University of Antwerp gave her an Honorary Doctorate in April 2011.
- Padma Sri awarded by the President of India in 2008
- Monsoon Poems (1976) – Agarwal’s book of poetry
- Mechanization in Indian Agriculture (1983)
- Cold Hearths and Barren Slopes: The Woodfuel Crisis in the Third World (1986)
- Structures of Patriarchy: State, Community, and Household in Modernizing Asia (1998) ed.
- A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia (1994)
- Capabilities, Freedom and Equality: Amartya Sen’s Work From A Gender Perspective (2006) ed.
- "Enotes page on Bina Agarwal"
- Agarwal, Bina (1994). A field of one's own: gender and land rights in South Asia. Cambridge University Press. p. 576. ISBN 978-0-521-42926-9. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
- Agarwal, Bina (1994) A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
- Agarwal, Bina (1997) “’Bargaining’ and Gender Relations: Within and Beyond the Household” in Feminist Economics v.3 (1)
- Agarwal, Bina and Panda Pradeep (9/72003) “Home and the World: Revisiting Violence” in The Indian Express
- Agarwal, Bina (9/25/2005) “Landmark Step to Gender Equality” in The Hindu
- Pradeep, Panda and Bina Agarwal (2005) “Marital Violence, Human Development and Women’s Property Status in India” in World Development v.3 (5)