Tufts Institute to Award Annual Economics Prize to Bina Agarwal and Daniel Kahneman

Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute announced today that it will award its annual Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought to Bina Agarwal of Delhi University in India and Daniel Kahneman of Princeton University. The award ceremony will take place in Spring 2010 at Tufts University and will feature lectures by the prize winners.

The Global Development And Environment Institute (GDAE), which is jointly affiliated with Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, inaugurated its economics award in 2000 in memory of Nobel Prize-winning economist and Institute advisory board member Wassily Leontief, who had passed away the previous year. The Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought recognizes economists whose work, like that of the institute and Leontief himself, combines theoretical and empirical research that promotes a more comprehensive understanding of social and environmental processes. The inaugural prizes were awarded in 2000 to John Kenneth Galbraith and Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen. Bina Agarwal’s contributions to broadening the frontiers of economic thought have been both theoretical and empirical, with a particular focus on the most disadvantaged. An economist with a keen interest in interdisciplinary and inter-country explorations, she has done pioneering work especially on women’s rights in land, and gender and environment governance. An original thinker and policy advocate, she brings to her work insights from both research and field experience. Her writings have influenced policy nationally and globally. Dr. Agarwal’s publications include eight books and numerous professional papers on subjects such as land, livelihoods and property rights; environment and development; the political economy of gender; poverty and inequality; law; and agriculture and technological change. Her multiple award-winning book: A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia (Cambridge University Press, 1994) was acclaimed by the jury of the Edgar Graham prize as “a superb analysis” and a “lasting milestone” that would benefit a vast segment of the world’s disadvantaged. She is a Professor of Economics at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi University. She has been President of the International Association for Feminist Economics, and was a founder member of the Indian Society for Ecological Economics. In 2008 the President of India awarded her the Padma Shri. She currently serves on the U.N. Committee for Development Policy and the Indian Prime Minister’s National Council for Land Reforms. “Bina Agarwal embodies the kind of theoretically rigorous, empirically grounded, and policy-oriented economics that the Leontief Prize was created to recognize,” said GDAE Co-Director Neva Goodwin. “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.”

Daniel Kahneman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002 for his groundbreaking work in the field of behavioral economics. Dr. Kahneman is a Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He is also Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs Emeritus at the Woodrow Wilson School, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Princeton University, and a fellow of the Center for Rationality at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

“Our Institute’s work has been much influenced, and has greatly benefited, by the ways in which Dr. Kahneman has expanded the frontiers and crossed the boundaries between economics and other disciplines,” said GDAE Co-Director Neva Goodwin. “As we watch the current economic crisis unfold, we look forward to finding ways for the field of economics to increasingly incorporate the realistic complexity Dr. Kahneman has added to the economic understanding of human motivations and rationality.”

The Global Development And Environment Institute was founded in 1993 with the goal of promoting a better understanding of how societies can pursue their economic and community goals in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner. The Institute develops textbooks and course materials that incorporate a broad understanding of social, financial and environmental sustainability. The Institute also carries out policy-relevant research on globalization, climate change, and the role of the market in environmental policy.

In addition to Amartya Sen and John Kenneth Galbraith, GDAE has awarded the Leontief Prize to Paul Streeten, Herman Daly, Alice Amsden, Dani Rodrik, Nancy Folbre, Robert Frank, Richard Nelson, Ha-Joon Chang, Samuel Bowles, Juliet Schor, Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Stephen DeCanio, José Antonio Ocampo, and Robert Wade.

The awards ceremony and Leontief Prize lectures will take place on Tufts University’s Medford Campus in Spring 2010.

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