Professor Jagdish Bhagwati was born into a Gujrati Family in 1934 in Mumbai. His elder brother Justice P.N Bhagwati is a former Chief Justice of India and his niece Pallavi Shroff heads one of India's largest law firms. Bhagwati is now living in America, with his wife Padma Desai, who is 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 Bhagwati who is an U.S. Marine officer.
In 1954 he completed his B.com from Mumbai and post graduated in l956 from Cambridge University with a first in Economics Tripos. He did his Ph.D at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1967. After his education in England and the United States, in 1961 Bhagwati returned to India and served as Professor of Economics at the Indian Statistical Institute. He also served as Professor of International Trade at the Delhi School of Economics. But in 1968 he returned to MIT, leaving it twelve years later to join Columbia, as the Ford International Professor of Economics. Bhagwati is one of the only 10 scholars who hold the title of University Professor at Columbia.
In 2000 coordinated by the American Enterprise Institute, Bhagwati played a signatory role to an 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.
In May, 2004, Bhagwati took part in the Copenhagen Consensus project.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. In 2006, Bhagwati became a member of the Panel of Eminent Persons who reviewed the work of 'The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development' .
Professor Bhagwati has published more than three hundred articles and has authored or edited over fifty volumes; he also writes frequently for 'The New York Times', 'The Wall Street Journal', and 'The Financial Times', as well as reviews for 'The New Republic' and 'The Times Literary Supplement'. Professor Bhagwati is described as the most creative international trade theorist of his generation and is a leader in the fight for freer trade. "In Defense of Globalization" is most recent book by him, which has attracted worldwide acclaim. MIT press published five volumes of his scientific writings and two of his public policy essays. Among his famous books are 'Free Trade Today' in 2002, 'The Wind of the Hundred Days' in 2000, 'A Stream of Windows' in 1998, 'India in Transition' in 1993, 'World Trading System at Risk' in 1991, 'Protectionism' in 1988, 'Economics & Politics' of which he is the founder-editor, 'The Journal of International Economics' (founder-editor) etc.
The recipient of six festschrifts in his honor has also received several prizes and honorary degrees, including awards from the governments of India the "Padma Vibhushan" and Japan the "Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star". He has been honored with Honorary D.Litt degrees from several universities like, Erasmus (Netherlands) and Sussex (UK), South Gujarat University. The awards he has received are the "Mahalanobis Memorial Medal" from India, the "Bernhard Harms Prize" from Germany, the "Kenan Prize" from USA, the "John R. Commons Award" from USA, the "Freedom Prize" from Switzerland, and the "Frank E. Seidman Distinguished Award" in Political Economy from USA. Professor Bhagwati has delivered many prestigious lectures, among them are the Frank Graham Lecture at Princeton the Bertil Ohlin Lectures at the Stockholm School of Economics, the Harry Johnson Lecture in London, the Eyskens Lectures in Belgium, the Radhakrishnan Lectures in Oxford, and the Prebisch Lecture at UNCTAD IX in Johannesburg.
Professor Bhagwati is widely acknowledged as a future Nobel laureate, so respected among his fellow economists for his insights into the workings of foreign trade.