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Event Summary

Despite witnessing high economic growth for years after the economic reforms of 1991, this year, India experienced a growth rate of less than half the 9.8 percent rate of 2007. And with the next general election around the corner, Indians are still debating the importance of economic growth. At an AEI event on Friday, Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya, authors of “Why Growth Matters” (PublicAffairs, April 2013), joined scholars from AEI and Johns Hopkins University to examine the liberal and socialistic arguments surrounding the importance of economic growth.

Bhagwati introduced the current debate in India that motivated him and Panagariya to write the book, specifically referencing certain popular antireform arguments, such as the fact that growth fails to redistribute revenues to necessary social expenditures. Panagariya then referenced thorough economic analyses that refute some of these major antireform arguments, showing that economic growth has led to poverty reduction across all groups in Indian society. Pravin Krishna of Johns Hopkins University reviewed the history of India’s economic reforms since the 1990s, highlighting how Bhagwati and Panagariya’s book contributes factual data and analyses to the current debate. AEI’s Sadanand Dhume concluded that the book helped place economic policy at the heart of India’s upcoming election.
–Hao Fu

Event Description

Since India’s economic reforms of 1991 and its subsequent high-growth years, nearly 200 million Indians have been lifted out of poverty. But growth this year is less than half the 9.8 percent rate of six years ago. Regardless of this fact, in the lead up to next year’s Indian general election, Indians are still debating the importance of economic growth.

At this event, AEI brings together Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya, authors of “Why Growth Matters” (PublicAffairs, April 2013), who will argue that if the reforms of 1991 could transform India from a basket case to a middle-income country and engine of growth, then  it is clear that a rapidly expanding economy is the best antidote to poverty.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


9:45 AM

10:00 AM
Jagdish Bhagwati, Columbia University
Sadanand Dhume, AEI
Pravin Krishna, Johns Hopkins University
Arvind Panagariya, Columbia University

Claude Barfield

12:00 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Hao Fu at [email protected], 202.862.5214.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Claude Barfield is a resident scholar at AEI who researches international trade policy (including trade policy in China and East Asia), the World Trade Organization (WTO), intellectual property, and science and technology policy. He is a former consultant to the Office of the US Trade Representative. His many books include “Free Trade, Sovereignty, Democracy: The Future of the World Trade Organization” (AEI Press, 2001), in which he identifies challenges to the WTO and to the future of trade liberalization.

Jagdish Bhagwati is University Professor (in economics, law, and international affairs) at Columbia University and senior fellow in international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has been economic policy adviser to Arthur Dunkel, director-general of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade globalization special adviser to the United Nations (UN), 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 WTO and on the advisory committee to former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development process. He was also a member of the Eminent Persons Group under the chairmanship of former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso on the future of UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development). Recently, he has been cochair, with former Finnish president Tarja Halonen, of the Eminent Persons Group on developing countries in the world economy.

Sadanand Dhume is a resident fellow at AEI. His research interests include South Asian political economy, foreign policy, business, and society, with a focus on India and Pakistan. He is also a South Asia columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He has worked as a foreign correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review in India and Indonesia and was a Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the Asia Society in Washington, DC.

Pravin Krishna is the Chung Ju Yung Distinguished Professor of International Economics and Business at Johns Hopkins University. He is likewise appointed in Hopkins’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC, and in the Department of Economics in the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences in Baltimore, MD. Krishna is also cochair of the Bernard L. Schwartz Globalization Initiative at SAIS and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Krishna has previously been professor of economics at Brown University and has also held appointments at a number of other universities, including the University of Chicago, Princeton University, Stanford University and INSEAD graduate business school. He has served as a consultant to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Arvind Panagariya is a professor of economics and Jagdish Bhagwati Professor of Indian Political Economy at Columbia University and a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He has been the chief economist of the Asian Development Bank and a professor of economics and codirector at the Center for International Economics at the University of Maryland.  He has also worked for the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) in various capacities. Panagariya is currently an editor of the India Policy Forum, a journal modeled on the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity and jointly published by the Brookings Institution and the National Council on Applied Economic Research in New Delhi.

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