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Jagdish Bhagwati

University Professor

Jagdish Bhagwati

University Professor

Jagdish Bhagwati is a University Professor (Economics, Law, and International Affairs) at Columbia University.

He has been the economic policy adviser to the director-general of GATT Arthur Dunkel, special adviser to the United Nations on globalization, and external adviser to the World Trade Organization (WTO). He has served on the expert group appointed by the director-general of the WTO on the future of the organization, as well as the advisory committee to Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the NEPAD process in Africa. He was also a member of the Eminent Persons Group under the chairmanship of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil on the future of UNCTAD. He served as co-chair with President Halonen of Finland of the Eminent Persons Group on Developing Countries in the World Economy.

The recipient of six festschrifts in his honor, Bhagwati has also received several prizes and 18 honorary degrees, including from the Freie University (Berlin), Erasmus University (Netherlands),the Stockholm School of Economics, and most recently from the Johns Hopkins University. He has been honoured with awards from the governments of India (Padma Vibhushan) and Japan (Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star).

Bhagwati and his wife, Professor Padma Desai (emerita Harriman Professor of Comparative Economic Systems), are proponents of Professorial philanthropy and have contributed several million dollars of their own moneys to Columbia University, Harvard University, Middlebury College, Cambridge, Oxford and other universities worldwide.

They also brought, under CLS Dean Schizer, $4.5 million to Columbia Law School: 3.5 million for a Chair in honour of Dr. Ambedkar, an icon of Constitutional law in India, and endowment of a Million for Fellowships in honour of Professor Bhagwati for students of WTO law. Bhagwati teaches a renowned course in WTO Law and Economics with CLS Professor Mavroidis.

Bhagwati has also earned worldwide recognition as a scholar of immigration issues, with multiple awards. Since the time of Dean David Leebron, he has also been running the Emma Lazarus Lectures on International Flows of Humanity, with eminent scholars of immigration and also major figures such as  UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Before Professor Gerald Neuman moved to Harvard, Bhagwati also taught a joint seminar course with him on Immigration Law and Economics. Bhagwati and fellow University Professor Michael Doyle are the two icons of immigration scholarship at Columbia Law School today.

Bhagwati is described as one of the most creative international trade theorists of his generation and is a leader in the fight for freer trade. His 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 The MIT Press.

Bhagwati writes frequently in major newspapers and magazines worldwide. He has also appeared on television programs, including the Charlie Rose Show, MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, ABC News,  Christianne Amanpour Show, and Bloomberg Television. He has also engaged in public debates with the opponents of free trade and globalization such as Naomi Klein and Lori Wallach of Public Citizen, and many distinguished public figures such as Ralph Nader.

A native of India, Bhagwati attended the University of Cambridge, where he graduated in 1956 with a first in economics tripos. He then continued to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of 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 the United States in 1968 as Professor of Economics at MIT.

  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1961

  • B.A., University of Cambridge, 1956

  • B.A., Sydenham College of Commerce & Economics, Mumbai, 1954

Indian Constitutional Law
Law of the W.T.O.