Jagdish Natwarlal Bhagwati (born July 26, 1934) is an Indian-born American economist. He is a University Professor of economics and law at Columbia University. Bhagwati is notable for his research in international trade and for his advocacy of free trade.
Bhagwati was born in 1934, into a Gujarati family in the Bombay Presidency during the British Raj, and received a BA from Sydenham College, Mumbai. He then traveled to England to study at St. John's College, Cambridge, receiving a second BA at Cambridge (in Economics) in 1956. Between 1957 and 1959 he studied at Nuffield College, Oxford. He received the Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1961 for a thesis titled "Essays in International Economics", supervised by Charles P. Kindleberger.
Bhagwati is married to Padma Desai, also a Columbia economist and Russia-specialist; they have one daughter. He is the brother of P.N. Bhagwati, former Chief Justice of India and also of S.N. Bhagwati, an eminent neurosurgeon. Bhagwati and Desai's joint 1970 OECD study India: Planning for Industrialization was a notable contribution at the time.
After completing his PhD, Bhagwati returned to India in 1961, first to teach briefly at the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, and then as professor of international trade at the Delhi School of Economics at the University of Delhi, from 1962 to 1968. From 1968 until 1980, Bhagwati was an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Bhagwati currently serves on the Academic Advisory Board of Human Rights Watch (Asia) and on the board of scholars of the Centre for Civil Society. He is a Senior Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations. Bhagwati has previously served as an external advisor to the Director General of the World Trade Organization in 2001, as a special policy advisor on globalization to the United Nations in 2000, and as an economics policy advisor to the Director-General of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, from 1991 to 1993.
In 2000, Bhagwati was signatory to an amicus briefing, coordinated by the American Enterprise Institute, with the Supreme Court of the United States to contend that the Environmental Protection Agency should, contrary to a prior ruling, be allowed to take into account the costs of regulations when setting environmental standards.
In January 2004, Bhagwati published In Defense of Globalization, a book in which he argues:
... this process [of globalization] has a human face, but we need to make that face more agreeable.
In May, 2004, Bhagwati was one of the experts who took part in the Copenhagen Consensus project.
In 2006, Bhagwati was a member of the Panel of Eminent Persons who reviewed the work of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In early 2010, Bhagwati joined the advisory board of the Institute for Migrant Rights, Cianjur – Indonesia.
At present, he is professor of economics and law at Columbia University.
Other awards include the Bernhard Harms Prize (Germany), the Kenan Enterprise Award (United States), the Freedom Prize (Switzerland), and the John R. Commons Award (United States). He has also received honorary degrees from the University of Sussex and Erasmus University, as well as others.
I measure a scholar's prolific-ness not by the mere number of his publishings. Just as the area of a rectangle equals its width times its depth, the quality of a lifetime accomplishment must weight each article by its novelties and wisdoms. ... Jagdish Bhagwati is more like Haydn: a composer of more than a hundred symphonies and no one of them other than top notch. ... In the struggle to improve the lot of mankind, whether located in advanced economies or in societies climbing the ladder out of poverty, Jagdish Bhagwati has been a tireless partisan of that globalization which elevates global total-factor – productivities both of richest America and poorest regions of Asia and Africa.
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For a thorough assessment of the challenges presented by trade and the environment by an author brought up in India but now a U.S. citizen, see Jagdish Bhagwati, In Defense of Globalization (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)
His name may not be immediately familiar, but anyone interested in understanding globalization ought to be acquainted with Jagdish Bhagwati. Born in India, schooled in Britain, and now an American citizen, Bhagwati is an international economist and one of only 10 scholars who hold the title of University Professor at Columbia.
If anyone can rise to this challenge, it should be Jagdish Bhagwati. An esteemed international economist, Bhagwati is a university professor at Columbia and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has advised the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. Born in India, educated in Britain and now an American citizen, he can claim to understand all points of view.
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