Barbara Harriss-White


Emeritus Professor of Development Studies; Senior Research Fellow in SIAS

Faculty / College Address:

Oriental Institute / Wolfson College


Research Interests:

  • Field researcher, working in villages and small towns on production, markets, the state, wellbeing and deprivation in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Francophone W. Africa.
  • Exchange relations and market structure and behaviour. Efficiency. Markets as contradictory processes of resource allocation and extraction. Markets as instituted phenomena. The informal economy. Corporate governance. The social regulation of capitalism.
  • Exchange relations and wellbeing; gender, life chances, nutrition and health care; poverty, nutrition and alcohol; rural disability; destitution; caste discrimination.
  • The Green Revolution; long term agrarian change in S. India; rural-urban economic relationships; the development over 30 years of a market town.
  • Development policy : the policy process: in particular the regulation of agricultural markets, technological change in agro-processing, the public distribution system and input into policies for agric marketing, agro-processing and inputs marketing in S. Asia; disability policy for DFID and World Bank.
  • Many policy related research consultancies for 8 UN agencies and DfID.
  • Global Issues: Multidisciplinary public lectures and edited books on Food (1994); on Globalisation and Insecurity (1999); 'Coming to Terms with Nature' (with L. Panitch and C. Leys) Merlin Press (2006).

Current Projects:

Books in Press:

  • 'Rural Commercial Capital And The Left Front: Food Markets in central west Bengal over the last quarter century', OUP, New Delhi
  • (ed) with Anushree Sinha: Trade Liberalization and India's Informal Economy, OUP, New Delhi
  • Outcastes and Modern Indian Capitalism: research based on business histories, on discrimination and agency in the market economy (with Aseem Prakash, Institute of Human Development, New Delhi) funded by Oxford University Fell Fund.

Courses Taught:

  • MPhil in Development Studies. Option on Indian Political Economy, contributions to gender and development option; and to Core Course.
  • MSc in Global Health Sciences. option

Recent Publications:

  • Barbara Harriss-White and Elinor Harriss, 2006, 'Unsustainable Capitalism: the Politics of Renewable Energy in the UK', Socialist Register 2007


  • 2005 India's Market Society
  • 2004 (co-authored) Rural India facing the 21st Century
  • 2003 India Working : Essays in Economy and Society
  • 2002 Outcaste from Welfare : Adult Disability in Rural S. India
  • 14 authored books, 10 edited books , 11 major reports (research consultancies) 122 chapters in books, 3 encyclopaedia entries, 53 papers in journals , 35 working papers

Further Info: