Columbia University has appointed economist Arvind Panagariya as the inaugural Jagdish Bhagwati Professor in Indian Political Economy.
Panagariya comes to Columbia from the University of Maryland, College Park, where he served as professor of economics and co-director at the Center for International Economics. He is the first to hold the Bhagwati chair, which was created by a group of donors in honor of Jagdish Bhagwati, who holds the rank of University Professor and is one of the world's pre-eminent international trade economists. The chair will be housed at the School of International and Public Affairs.
Panagariya has served as the chief economist of the Asian Development Bank and as adviser to the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. He holds a doctorate in economics from Princeton University.
"This is a big breakthrough for modern Indian studies at Columbia," Bhagwati said of Panagariya's appointment. He noted that Columbia has stellar faculty members in areas such as Sanskrit and Indian history and religion, and that the addition of a scholar in modern Indian economics and political science bolsters Columbia's already-strong standing in Indian studies.
Bhagwati, who is still an active faculty member at Columbia University, said he was "doubly flattered" that the University chose to name the chair after him. "It is an honor to have a chair named after oneself. And it is very unusual before retirement," he said. Born and raised in India, Bhagwati attended Cambridge University, MIT and Oxford University. He came to Columbia as a professor of economics in 1980 and was named a University Professor, the highest faculty rank, in 2001. He has served as economic policy adviser to the director-general, GATT; as special adviser to the United Nations on globalization; and as external adviser to the World Trade Organization. In addition, he has authored more than 300 articles and 45 books as well as founded two prominent economics journals.
"This appointment to the Bhagwati Chair ensures ongoing scholarly attention to present-day India, which is not only one of the largest and most important countries in the world but one that is undergoing rapid change we need to understand," said Lisa Anderson, dean of the School of International and Public Affairs. "Many of the chair's strongest backers came from New York City's Indian-American community, and I am delighted that they recognized that the academic and policy worlds will greatly benefit from having a permanent position at Columbia to further research and teaching on the current politics and economy of the nation of India."