Jagdish Bhagwati

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Jagdish Bhagwati (1934-) is a prominent economist noted for his defence of free trade against the critics of globalisation. He is Arthur Lehman Professor of Economics, and professor of political science at Columbia University.

He is married to Padma Desai.

According to a biographical note, Bhagwati was:

  • external adviser to the Director General of the WTO (2001);
  • special policy adviser to the UN on globalization (2000);
  • economic policy adviser to the Director-General of the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT), (1991-93);
  • Ford International Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), (1968-80). [1]

In 2000, he was signatory to American Enterprise Institute (AEI)-coordinated amicus briefing with Supreme Court 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.

Bhagwati has received several honorary degrees and awards, including:

  • the Bernhard Harms Prize,
  • the Seidman Distinguished Award in Political Economy,
  • the Freedom Prize, which he shared with Sir Leon Brittan

In May 2004, he was one of the experts at the Copenhagen Consensus.


In July 2000, Bhagwati together with some other "free trader" economists (Alan Deardorff, Robert Stern, T.N. Srinivasan, Robert E. Baldwin, and Arvind Panagariya) set up Academic Consortium on International Trade or ACIT, to counter criticism of "sweatshops" on US campuses. The group doesn't present itself as "pro-sweatshop", but rather as "free trade" and "anti-anti-sweatshop". Remarkable aspect of most of these economists is that they haven't read the key books and articles by globalization critics like Naomi Klein. They also narrow the terms of the debate as positing it as one between "free trade" vs. "anti-free-trade", while these are not the issues raised by the sweatshop critics. ACIT is a clear "free trade" lobby group, and they have not been constituted to have a dialog or debate with the critics of sweatshops or globalization.



  • Jagdish Bhagwati, In Defense of Globalization, Oxford University Press, www.oup-usa.org, ISBN 0-19-5170253. "With wit and wisdom, Jagdish Bhagwati convincingly shows that globalization is part of the solution, not part of the problem," the promotional material states.


  1. Advisory Board, European Management Institute, accessed August 26, 2008.