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Robert Lawrence

Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Albert L. Williams Professor of International Trade and Investment

Telephone: 617-495-1118
Fax: 617-496-2850



Robert Z. Lawrence is Albert L. Williams Professor of International Trade and Investment, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Economics, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He served as a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers from 1998 to 2000. Lawrence has also been a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He has taught at Yale University, where he received his PhD in economics. His research focuses on trade policy. He is the author of Can America Compete?; Crimes and Punishments? An Analysis of Retaliation under the WTO; Regionalism, Multilateralism and Deeper Integration; and Single World, Divided Nations? He is coauthor of A Prism on Globalization; Globaphobia: Confronting Fears About Open Trade; A Vision for the World Economy; and Saving Free Trade: A Pragmatic Approach. Lawrence has served on the advisory boards of the Congressional Budget Office, the Overseas Development Council, and the Presidential Commission on United States-Pacific Trade and Investment Policy.



By Date



Creative Commons

December 7, 2015

"What the WTO Can Learn from Paris Climate Talks"

Op-Ed, The Boston Globe

By Robert Lawrence, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

"For many years, negotiators at the annual conferences of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change looked longingly at how the World Trade Organization was able to negotiate effective international agreements. Ironically, the Paris climate talks that are scheduled to conclude on Friday and the WTO negotiations, which will take place next week in Nairobi, lead to the opposite conclusion. Trade negotiators should emulate the progress made in the climate change agreements by moving away from a simplistic division between developed and developing countries."



April 14, 2013

"As Other Nations Prosper, So Will the United States"

Op-Ed, Miami Herald

By Robert Lawrence, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"In the decades ahead, firms in developing countries could well become more formidable competitors for U.S. exporters, but by and large these pressures are not yet present in our export markets. This does not mean that import competition has not been disruptive. But America is strong enough to adapt and take advantage of that rising tide of prosperity in the developing economies that, as President Kennedy said in 1962, lifts all boats"



September 2010

"How Good Politics Results in Bad Policy: The Case of Biofuel Mandates"

Discussion Paper

By Robert Lawrence, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

This paper argues that the growing list of concerns about the impact of biofuel targets and mandates are the predictable result of a failure to follow the basic principles of good policy-making. Good policy-making requires developing a policy goal or target (i.e., reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing oil consumption, or increasing rural economic development) and designing an instrument to efficiently meet that particular goal. The more precise the goal, the better. In addition, for each target, there should be at least one policy instrument. You cannot meet two goals with only one instrument. This paper argues that the current U.S. biofuels mandates do not represent the most efficient or precise instrument to meet any of the policy's stated goals.



June 5, 2007

Implications of a Future Global Biofuels Market for Economic Development and International Trade


By Henry Lee, Director, Environment and Natural Resources Program, William C. Clark, Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy, and Human Development; Co-director, Sustainability Science Program; Faculty Chair, ENRP, Robert Lawrence, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Gloria Visconti

Summary report from a joint ENRP/Sustainablity Science Program workshop convening experts from academia, international institutions, government, and the private sector to explore possible implications of emerging global biofuels markets for economic development and international trade.

Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.