SOAS University of London

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Professor Prabhat Patnaik

Professor Prabhat Patnaik

Prabhat Patnaik is a highly respected Indian political economist known particularly for his advocacy of measures to directly improve the lives of the poor.

He was born in 1945 in Orissa, on the eastern coast of India and after initial schooling in his home town, he moved in 1957 to Daly College, Indore, a public school in central India, on a Government of India Merit Scholarship. Thereafter he obtained a scholarship to study at St Stephen’s College, Delhi, where he completed BA (Honours) and MA degrees in Economics.


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Prof Prabhat Patnaik, Honorary Doctorate, 2012 Graduation

In 1966 he won a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford where he studied first at Balliol College and later at Nuffield College, obtaining his BPhil and DPhil degrees in Economics. He moved to the University of Cambridge in 1969 to join the Faculty of Economics and Politics and accepted a Fellowship at Clare College. He returned to India in 1974 as an Associate Professor at the newly-established Centre for Economic Studies and Planning at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, and became a Professor there in 1983. He continued at the JNU until his retirement from the Sukhamoy Chakravarty Chair in 2010.

Between 2006 and 2011, Professor Patnaik was the executive head of the Planning Board in the state of Kerala. During his tenure, the state saw a significant expansion in welfare measures.

After the financial crisis in 2008 Professor Patnaik was appointed to an interactive panel by the President of the UN General Assembly with the task of discussing the crisis and recommending reforms of the global financial system.

Professor Patnaik has written many books including Time, Inflation and Growth (1988), Macroeconomics (ed.1995), and Re-envisioning Socialism (2011). He has been honoured by various academic associations holding several visiting professorships and currently edits the monthly journal Social Scientist.