Jagdish N. Bhagwati

Columbia University


Primary Section: 54, Economic Sciences
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2012)

Biosketch

Jagdish Bhagwati is senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and University Professor at Columbia University. He has been economic policy adviser to Arthur Dunkel, director-general of GATT (1991-93), special adviser to the UN on globalization, and external adviser to the WTO. He has served on the expert group appointed by the director-general of the WTO on the future of the WTO and the advisory committee to Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the NEPAD process in Africa, and was also a member of the Eminent Persons Group under the chairmanship of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil on the future of UNCTAD. Currently, he is co-chair with President Halonen of Finland of the Eminent Persons Group on Developing Countries in the World Economy.

Professor Bhagwati is described as the most creative international trade theorist of his generation and is a leader in the fight for freer trade. His most recent book Termites in the Trading System (Oxford University Press, 2008) discusses the deleterious effects of preferential trading agreements. His previous book In Defense of Globalization (Oxford University Press, 2004) attracted worldwide acclaim. Five volumes of his scientific writings and two of his public policy essays have been published by MIT press. The recipient of six festschrifts in his honor, he has also received several prizes and seventeen honorary degrees, and awards from the governments of India (Padma Vibhushan) and Japan (Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star).

Professor Bhagwati writes frequently in major newspapers and magazines worldwide and has reviewed for the New York Times Book Review, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, The New Republic, and Times Literary Supplement. He has also appeared on TV shows including MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, Charlie Rose Show, BBC News, CNN, and Bloomberg Television.

A native of India, Professor Bhagwati attended Cambridge University where he graduated in 1956 with a first in economics tripos. He then continued to study at MIT and Oxford returning to India in 1961 as professor of economics at the Indian Statistical Institute and then as professor of international trade at the Delhi School of Economics. He returned to MIT in 1968, leaving it twelve years later as the Ford International Professor of Economics to join Columbia. He is married to Padma Desai, the Gladys and Ronald Harriman Professor of Comparative Economic Systems at Columbia University and a scholar of Russian and other former socialist countries' transition problems. They have one daughter, Anuradha Kristina.

Research Interests

My research interests, leading to essays, op-ed commentary and books have extended to globalization and its consequences, immigration reform, WTO and multilateral trade negotiations like the Doha Round, access to education by the poor, poverty and inequality (and why we need to focus, as in India, on the bottom 30% and not on the top 1%), gender equality, corporate and private social responsibility, developmental strategy, secularism and freedom of religion. Latest books are: 2009 edition of the 2004 Oxford book In Defense of Globalization, Termites in the Trading System: Why Preferential Trade Agreements Undermine Free Trade (Oxford, 2009) and Why Growth Matters (co-authored, Public Affairs, April 2013). Next Spring, I will be publishing a book on Shifting the Lens: Illegal Immigration into the US.

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