Steve Charnovitz

Steve Charnovitz (born 1953) is a scholar of public international law, living in the United States. He teaches at the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C., and is best known for his writings on the linkages between trade and environment and trade and labor rights.[1][2] He is also known for his scholarship on the historical role of nongovernmental organizations in international governance.[3]

Steve Charnovitz
Charnovitz in 2019.jpg
Alma materYale Law School
Yale College
Kennedy School of Government
Scientific career
FieldsInternational Law
International Trade
InstitutionsGeorge Washington University
George Washington University Law School


Charnovitz is a native of Savannah, Georgia.[4]

He was an early advocate for improving bicycle transportation in the United States where he worked in the Office of Environmental Affairs of the U.S. Department of Transportation.[5] He was an analyst in the U.S. Department of Labor from 1975 to 1986 on international labor issues.[6] One accomplishment during that period was the negotiation of labor reforms in Haiti and El Salvador as part of the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative.[7][8] During 1984–1985, he was an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow in the offices of Senator Carl Levin and House Majority Leader Jim Wright. From 1987 to 1989, he was a legislative assistant to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Jim Wright,[9][10] and served once again in 1989–1991 for Speaker Tom Foley. In 1991, Charnovitz became Policy Director of the newly established Competitiveness Policy Council.[11] In 1994, he co-founded and directed the Global Environment and Trade Study (GETS) located at the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy.[12] After several years in private practice at the law firm now known as Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr,[13] Charnovitz joined the faculty of the George Washington University Law School in 2004.[14]

Charnovitz serves or has served on several editorial boards in scholarly journals including the American Journal of International Law, the Journal of Environment & Development, the Journal of International Economic Law, and the World Trade Review.[15] He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[16] From the late 1970s onward, he has been a forceful advocate of free trade combined with pro-competitiveness policies by governments to assist workers who are hurt by economic change and globalization.[17][18] Charnovitz has also been a longtime proponent of effective intergovernmental policies to prevent climate change.[19] He was also an early proponent of giving each student an individual computer in the classroom.[20]

He is a member of the American Law Institute.[21] In 2012, he has served as an advisor to the Harvard Business School's Project on U.S. Competitiveness.[22]

He received a B.A. degree from Yale College in 1975, an M.P.P. degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1983, and a J.D. degree from the Yale Law School in 1998.[23]


Charnovitz is the author of Trade Law and Global Governance, which was launched in June 1992 at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He is also the author of over 215 articles in edited volumes and scholarly journals, and the co-editor of Law in Service of Human Dignity. In 2009, he coauthored Global Warming and the World Trading System, published by the Peterson Institute for International Economics.[24] (The coauthors are Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Jisun Kim.) In the 1990s and 2000s, he has written extensively on the history of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).[25] In 1997, he proposed the thesis that the impact of non-governmental organization on international policymaking was cyclical rather than upwardly sloping.[26][27] He is the author of The Path of World Trade Law in the 21st Century (World Scientific, 2014).[28]

He is known for his neologisms on international policy issues. For example, he coined the term "ecolonomy"[29] to signify that Earth's ecology and economy were two sides of the same coin. He also coined the term "SCOO"[30] as an acronym for the trade sanction in the World Trade Organization called "suspension of concessions or other obligations".

He writes on numerous issues in international law and US foreign relations such as climate change, decarbonization, and international migration.[31] He has advocated experimentalism in republican government.[32] Since 1983, he has advocated that the United States supplement its participation in the United Nations by intensifying US cooperation with other democracies.[33]


  1. ^ "Ideas for the ILO's 'Second Century'", Charnovitz Interview, Washington Branch Office of the International Labor Organization, ILO Focus, Spring 2001, pp. 4–6.
  2. ^ Sakr, Rafael LIma (March 2019). "Beyond History and Boundaries: Rethinking the Past in the Present of International Economic Law". Journal of International Economic Law. 22: 57, 64–90. doi:10.1093/jiel/jgz001. hdl:10.1093/jiel/jgz001.
  3. ^ "Steve Charnovitz – Google Scholar Citations". Retrieved 2020-02-13.
  4. ^ "Steve Charnovitz". Green Growth Knowledge Platform. 2014-12-03. Retrieved 2020-02-16.
  5. ^ See U.S. Department of Transportation, Highway and Urban Mass Transportation, September 1974, pp. 24–30 .
  6. ^ "Steve Charnovitz | International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development". Retrieved 2020-02-16.
  7. ^ "LC Catalog – Item Information (Full Record)" [The Path of World Trade Law in the 21st Century]. World Scientific. 2015. pp. xv. Retrieved 2020-07-17.
  8. ^ "The Labor Rights Rationale to Approve the USMCA". International Economic Law and Policy Blog. Retrieved 2020-07-17.
  9. ^ See Jim Wright, Balance of Power (Atlanta: Turner Publishing, 1996, p. 443).
  10. ^ "INSIDE WASHINGTON – Junk Trade". National Journal. Retrieved 2020-02-16.
  11. ^ See Competitiveness Policy Council A Competitiveness Strategy for America. Second Report to the President and Congress, March 1993, p. 63.
  12. ^ "PEOPLE – Washington's Movers and Shakers". National Journal. Retrieved 2020-02-23.
  13. ^ Biermann, Frank (2017-03-02). A World Environment Organization: Solution or Threat for Effective International Environmental Governance?. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-351-96142-4.
  14. ^ "WTO | About the organization". Retrieved 2020-02-23.
  15. ^ "Editorial board". Cambridge Core. Retrieved 2020-03-05.
  16. ^ "A Conversation with Senator Jeff Flake". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 2020-02-28.
  17. ^ Charnovitz, Steve (1986-01-01). "Worker Adjustment: The Missing Ingredient in Trade Policy". California Management Review. 28 (2): 156–173. doi:10.2307/41165194. ISSN 0008-1256. JSTOR 41165194. S2CID 155594521.
  18. ^ "A Discussion about the Debate Over the North American Free Trade Agreement". Retrieved 2020-03-05.
  19. ^ Charnovitz, Steve (2020-02-05). "How the Topsy-Turvy Trade World Affects Climate Change Cooperation". Rochester, NY. SSRN 3532689. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  20. ^ "Computerizing the Classroom", Journal of Commerce, August 30, 1994.
  21. ^ Institute, The American Law. "Members". American Law Institute. Retrieved 2020-02-28.
  22. ^ "Steve Charnovitz - Faculty - USC - Harvard Business School". Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  23. ^ "Steve Charnovitz". Centre for International Governance Innovation. Retrieved 2020-02-28.
  24. ^ See
  25. ^ Charnovitz, Steve (2006). "Nongovernmental Organizations and International Law". The American Journal of International Law. 100 (2): 348–372. doi:10.1017/S0002930000016699. ISSN 0002-9300. JSTOR 3651151. S2CID 141370327.
  26. ^ Steve Charnovitz, "Two Centuries of Participation: NGOs and International Governance," Michigan Journal of International Law, Vol. 18, Winter 1997, pp. 183, 268–270.
  27. ^ Charnovitz, Steve (1997-01-01). "Two Centuries of Participation: NGOs and International Governance". Michigan Journal of International Law. 18 (2): 183–286. ISSN 1052-2867.
  28. ^ Charnovitz, Steve (2013-05-21). The Path of World Trade Law in the 21st Century. World Scientific Studies in International Economics. Vol. 37. WORLD SCIENTIFIC. doi:10.1142/8834. ISBN 978-981-4513-24-1.
  29. ^ Steve Charnovitz, Living in an Ecolonomy: Environmental Cooperation and the GATT, Pacific Basin Research Center, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 1994. The term "ecolonomics" had been invented one year earlier by Dennis Weaver. The field of ecological economics goes back to the 19th century.
  30. ^ "The Dispute Settlement System in the Next Ten Years", pp. 921, 927, in Merit Janow, Victoria Donaldson & Alan Yanovich (eds.), The WTO: Governance, Dispute Settlement & Developing Countries (Huntington: Juris Publishing, 2008).
  31. ^ "WTO Norms on International Migration". Retrieved 2020-03-12.
  32. ^ "Canadian Parliamentary Review – Article". Retrieved 2020-03-16.
  33. ^ Charnovitz, Steve (August 5, 1985). "A Union of Democracies". The Christian Science Monitor.

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