Bina Agarwal is an Indian economist well-known for her interdisciplinary work in areas related to development, rural livelihoods, poverty and inequality, and especially women's property rights. Her 1994 award-winning book, A Field of One's Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia, has influenced policy positions and decisions among national governments, non-governmental organizations and international agencies. She laid the groundwork for a successful campaign for gender equality in Hindu inheritance law in India.
Currently a Professor of Economics at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi University, Agarwal was educated at the Universities of Cambridge and Delhi and is a distinguished academic scholar. She has held prestigious positions at several universities in the United States and the United Kingdom, including appointment as the first Daniel Ingalls Visiting Professor at Harvard University and a research fellow at the Ash Institute, Kennedy School of Government. She has given invited lectures at academic institutions around the world and she has taught at Delhi, Harvard, the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), and the University of Minnesota.
Agarwal is the author of eight books, numerous scholarly papers, and several articles published in popular publications in India. She has been consultant to the Indian Planning Commission and has participated in the formulation of several of India’s Five Year Plans.
She also has served as Vice-President of the International Economic Association, was elected the first Southern President of the International Association for Feminist Economics, was a member of the Board of the Global Development Network from its inception until 2006, and is a founding member of the Indian Society for Ecological Economics. She serves on the UN Committee for Development Policy and the Prime Minister’s National Council for Land Reforms. She is also a member of the editorial boards of several international academic journals.
Agarwal has received several honors and awards, including the First Professor Ramesh Chandra Argrawal Award of Excellence for her contributions to agricultural economics (2005), and Malcolm Adiseshiah Award for Distinguished Contributions to Development Studies (2002). In 2008, she was a recipient of the Padma Shri Award from the government of India for "exceptional and distinguished service" in Literature and Education.