Sir Partha Dasgupta was born in Dhaka (at that time in India) and educated in Varanasi (Matriculation 1958 from Rajghat Besant School), Delhi (B.Sc. Hons, in Physics, 1962, University of Delhi), and Cambridge (B.A. Hons. in Mathematics, 1965, and Ph.D. in Economics, 1968). He is the son of the noted economist Amiya Dasgupta (1903-1992). He is married to Carol Dasgupta, who is a psychotherapist. They have three children: Zubeida Dasgupta-Clark (an educational psychologist), Shamik (a philosophy professor), and Aisha (who works on reproductive health in Africa).
Dasgupta is Frank Ramsey Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Cambridge, Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge, and Professorial Research Fellow at the Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of Manchester. He taught at the London School of Economics during 1971-1984 and moved to the University of Cambridge in 1985 as Professor of Economics, where he served as Chairman of the Faculty of Economics in 1997-2001. During 1989-92 he was also Professor of Economics, Professor of Philosophy, and Director of the Program in Ethics in Society at Stanford University; and during 1991-97 he was Chairman of the (Scientific Advisory) Board of the Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics, Stockholm. Since 1999 he has been a Founder Member of the Management and Advisory Committee of the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE), Kathmandu. In 1996 he helped to establish the journal Environment and Development Economics, published by Cambridge University Press, whose purpose has been not only to publish original research at the interface of poverty and the environmental-resource base, but also to provide an opportunity to scholars in developing countries to publish their findings in an international journal.
Professor Dasgupta's research interests have covered welfare and development economics, the economics of technological change, population, environmental and resource economics, the theory of games, the economics of undernutrition, and the economics of social capital. His publications include Guidelines for Project Evaluation (with S.A. Marglin and A.K. Sen; United Nations, 1972), Economic Theory and Exhaustible Resources (with G.M. Heal; Cambridge University Press, 1979 (recipient of the United States Association of Environmental and Resource Economists "Publication of Enduring Quality Award 2003"); The Control of Resources (Harvard University Press, 1982); An Inquiry into Well-Being and Destitution (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1993); Human Well-Being and the Natural Environment (Oxford University Press, 2001; revised edition, 2004); Economics: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007); and The Economics of Biodiversity: the Dasgupta Review (London: HMTreasury, 2021).