Arun Agrawal adds expertise in international development, sustainability, environmental governance to Ford School faculty

September 23, 2021

Today, the University of Michigan Board of Regents approved the courtesy appointment of Arun Agrawal, the Samuel Trask Dana Professor at the School for Environment and Sustainability, to join the Ford School of Public Policy. He also serves as faculty associate for the Center for Political Studies. A political scientist, Agrawal will enhance the Ford School’s expertise in the political economy of development, sustainability, and governance.

“I’m excited to welcome Arun Agrawal to the Ford School family,” said Ford School Dean Michael S. Barr. “He brings expertise in climate change and development policy and real-world policy experience to our community. Our students and faculty are eager to work with him.”

Agrawal’s research and teaching emphasis is on the politics and policies of international development, with a focus on South Asia, Africa, and Latin America. He has extensive expertise on indigenous knowledge and community-based conservation, and has worked with such international organizations as the World Bank, the United Nations, and other multinational development and environmental non-government organizations.

Recent research initiatives include work with the World Bank to develop a new, data-driven machine-learning based approach that would support policy actions to reduce climate vulnerability and the use of  field experiments and randomized controlled trials in natural resource and environmental governance. He is also partnering with the UK-based think tank, the International Institute for Environment and Development, to examine social assistance programs in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

“I look forward to working with students and faculty in the Ford School,” said Agrawal. “I hope to help students develop greater expertise in subjects related to sustainability and development, and learn from our faculty for collaborative research.”

Agrawal also coordinates the University of Michigan's Collaborating Research Center for the International Forestry Resources and Institutions network, which provides a comparative study of local institutions and forest governance in 12 countries. His work has appeared in Science, PNAS, American Political Science Review, Current Anthropology, Conservation Biology, World Development, Development and Change, and a number of journals in the Nature family of journals, among others . He is the editor of the Cambridge University Press’ Elements on Sustainability book series.

Agrawal formerly taught at the University of Florida - Gainesville, Yale University, and McGill University. He joined the University of Michigan in the School for Environment and Sustainability (then the School of Natural Resources and Environment) as an associate professor in 2003.

Welcome to the Ford School, Dr. Agrawal!