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Jagdish N. Bhagwati

Jagdish N. Bhagwati

International Trade Theorist

Jagdish N. Bhagwati

International Trade Theorist


Jagdish N. Bhagwati, the Arthur Lehman Professor of Economics and Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, was raised in India. He attended Cambridge University where he graduated in 1956 with a first in economics tripos. He then studied at MIT and Oxford, returning to India in 1961 as a professor of economics at the Indian Statistical Institute, and then as a professor of international trade at the Delhi School of Economics. Bhagwati returned to MIT in 1968, leaving it 12 years later as the Ford International Professor of Economics to join Columbia. Bhagwati has also served as Economic Policy Advisor to the Director-General, GATT (1991-1993).

Bhagwati has published more than 200 articles and 40 volumes. Regarded as one of the foremost international trade theorists of his generation, he has also made contributions to development theory and policy, public finance, immigration, and to the new theory of political economy. Three festschrift volumes of essays in his honor have been published in the US, the UK, and the Netherlands.

Five volumes of his collected essays have been published by MIT Press to date. His early books, India: Planning for Industrialization (Padma Desai, 1970) and India (T.N. Srinivasan, 1975) are recognized for having provided the intellectual case for the economic reforms now underway in India. Some of his books include Protectionism (1988), an international bestseller in several languages; The World Trading System at Risk (1991), which was reviewed extensively in the US and abroad; India in Transition: Freeing the Economy (1993); In Defense of Globalization (2004); and his most recent work, Termites in the Trading System: How Preferential Agreements Undermine Free Trade (2008).

Bhagwati also frequently writes for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and reviews for The New Republic. His writings on public policy, A Stream of Windows: Unsettling Reflections on Trade, Immigration, and Democracy, was published by MIT Press in 1998. He has frequently appeared on national television, including PBS’s NewsHour and CNN.

Bhagwati was a director of the National Bureau of Economic Research and was advisor to India's Finance Minister on India's economic reforms. He works with several NGOs in the US and India. He is on the Academic Advisory Board of Human Rights Watch (Asia) and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Council on Economic Priorities Accreditation Agency (which has created the SA 8000 Standard for Corporate Social Accountability).

Bhagwati founded the Journal of International Economics in 1971, the premier journal in the field today, and Economics & Politics in 1989. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and has been elected a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Speech Topics

The Political Economy of Trade Policy

Moral Obligations and Trade

Why Free Capital Mobility May Be Hazardous to Your Health: Lessons From the Latest Financial Crisis