Policy Research Institute - PRI Bangladesh

The Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI) is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of the Bangladesh economy, its key policy challenges, domestically, and in a rapidly integrating global marketplace.



Dr. Zaidi Sattar
Policy Research Institute

Dr. Sattar started his career as a Lecturer in Economics, Dhaka University in 1968; joined the Civil Service of Pakistan in 1969 and served in various positions in the districts and the Ministries of Bangladesh since 1971. In mid-career, he left for the USA for higher studies in Development Economics. In 1984, after completing his Ph.D in Economics from Boston University , he joined the faculty of Catholic University of America, Washington D.C., in the Department of Economics and Business, where he taught until 1992. Returning to Bangladesh in June 1992, he served as World Bank Advisor on tariffs and customs reform to the National Board of Revenue (1992-95) and later as UNDP consultant Macroeconomist at the Planning Commission (1995-96). He joined the World Bank, Dhaka Office, in 1996 where he served as Senior Economist, South Asia Region, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management until his retirement in September 2007. Between October 2007 and December 2008, he served as Vice-Chancellor, The Millennium University, Dhaka. Dr. Sattar is a founder Chairman of PRI which began its journey in December 2008.

Dr. Sattar has some 40 publications in international and national journals and numerous papers presented on trade policy, private sector development and growth issues at national and international conferences. He is recognized as a leading expert on trade and tax policy issues in Bangladesh . He frequently offers policy advice to the Government of Bangladesh on trade, industry and macroeconomic policy issues. He also lectures on campuses, makes keynote presentations in seminars and workshops, and contributes op ed pieces in local journals and newspapers. He is a life member of Bangladesh Economic Association, and Director of the following institutions: Southeast Bank Ltd., Industrial and Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IIDFC), and Venture Investment Partners Bangladesh Ltd. (VIPB).






Ph.D Economics, Boston University 1984
MA Political Economy, Boston University 1981
MA Economics, Karachi University 1968
BA (Honors) Economics, Dhaka University 1967


International Scholars Award for academic excellence, Boston University, 1984


Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, USA, Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Kiribati


Chairman: Policy Research Institute (PRI) of Bangladesh, Banani, Dhaka. This is a leading Dhaka-based think-tank committed to undertaking and disseminating policy-oriented research. The key activities include: macroeconomic management focusing, inter alia, on fiscal policy and expenditure management, public debt management, monetary policy, interest rate and exchange rate policies; trade and tariff policies; regional trade and investment; governance and civil service reform.

2008: Consultant, World Bank . Team Leader, Implementation Completion Results Report on IDA programmatic loans and budget support of $1.075 billion – Development Support Credit to Bangladesh during 2003-07. Task leader, on-going Modernization and Automation Project at National Board of Revenue (NBR) and for proposed Revenue Administration Modernization Project (RAMP). Authored chapter on Improving Revenue Performance in 2008 World Bank report, Bangladesh Public Expenditure and Institutional Review. Co-Task leader for study on Quota System for Civil Service Recruitment, prepared jointly with Public Service Commission.

1996-2007: Senior Economist (Trade and Macroeconomics), South Asia Region, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, World Bank.

Interacted with highest policy level in Bangladesh government on trade and macroeconomic policy issues. Represented World Bank as lead adviser on revenue issues, and trade policy matters – regional and multilateral – on tariffs, QRs, protection and WTO compliance. Frequently advised senior policymakers on trade, industry and macroeconomic issues.

Task leader and principal author : WB reports on post-MFA Strategic Options for Readymade Garment industry; Suppliers' Credit as External Finance; Foreign Direct Investment and Issues of Sustainability; Sector Policy Briefs for New Government; Bangladesh 2020: A Long-run Perspective Study

Task leader and co-author : Trade Policies in South Asia: the first comprehensive review of trade policies in South Asia; widely referred WB study; Study of Indo-Bangladesh Trade and potential FTA; Co-authored several WB studies on Trade Liberalization, Growth and Poverty Reduction issues.

Task leader : Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). Guided and provided technical support to the Government team in the preparation of PRSP. Prepared WB-IMF Joint Staff Assessment (JSA), which was discussed and approved by the Boards of the WB and IMF.

Co-Task leader : Public Expenditure Review 2008 and 2004. Played key role in preparing conceptual framework of the reports after consultations with key policymakers. Wrote chapter in the 2008 report; WB study on Growth and Export Competitiveness

WB core team member : regular post-budget analysis, analysis of tariff adjustments and revenue/protection impacts, country assistance strategy (CAS), formulation of reform agenda for multi-year programmatic budget support with critical inputs for Board Memorandum; regional cooperation on trade and investment; study on strategy for sustained growth; various thematic and emerging policy issues from time to time.

1996-97: Member, National Accounts Task Force. Based on independent research, identified flaws and errors in computation of national income and macro indicators such as savings and investment. Government responded by setting up a Task Force to revise National Accounts, which was done from 1991. Revised series reflected findings of my research.

1992-95: WB international adviser at NBR on trade, tariffs, and customs administration reforms under Industrial Sector Adjustment Credit. Worked with top management at NBR and Ministry of Finance and advised on tariff adjustments: reduction of nominal and effective protection, moving towards uniformity, etc. Was responsible for reducing average tariffs from 90% in 1992 to 40% in 1995.

1995-96: Senior Macroeconomic Adviser (UNDP), Bangladesh Planning Commission. Co-author of Bangladesh 15-year Perspective Plan 1995-2010.

1984-92: Assistant Professor, and later, Associate Professor, Department of Economics and Business, The Catholic University of America, Washington DC. Taught graduate and undergraduate courses in macroeconomics, international economics, public finance and development. Supervised Ph.D dissertations.

1969-83: Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) – top echelon administrative service; served in districts and secretariat in various administrative capacities. Part of the time was on administrative leave for completing higher education in US. Took early retirement from government service in 1983. Civil service experience helps to break barriers in Bangladesh bureaucracy, ensuring access and receptivity at the highest level of Government.

1968-69: Lecturer , Department of Economics, Dhaka University

Selected list of publications

“ Rhetoric versus Reality in Bangladesh Trade Policy ”, with Shanta Devarajan; in Quazi Shahabuddin and Rushidan Islam Rahman (edited), Bangladesh Development Experience and Emerging Challenges. University Press Ltd. 2009.

“ Studies on Indo-Bangladesh Trade and Potential FTA ,” in two volumes, Report No. 37863-BD, World Bank, Washington, 2006.

“ End of MFA Quotas: Key Issues and Strategic Options for Bangladesh Readymade Garment Industry , “ Report No. 34964, World Bank, Washington , 2005

“ Bangladesh : Growth and Export Competitiveness,” co-author, Report No. 31394, World Bank, Washington , 2005

“ Bangladesh Impact of Trade Liberalization: Looking at the Evidence ,” with Sadiq Ahmed, in Economic and Political Weekly , Vol. XXXIX, No. 36, 2004.

“Trade Policies in South Asia : An Overview,” in three volumes, with Garry Pursell, Report No. 29949, World Bank, Washington, 2004

“Trade Liberalization, Growth and Poverty Reduction: The Case of Bangladesh ,” with Sadiq Ahmed, South Asia Region Report No. IDP-190, World Bank, 2003.

“ Bangladesh : Suppliers' Credit as External Finance ,” lead author, World Bank, 2001.

“ Washington Consensus and Economic Governance in Bangladesh ,” in Hasnat A. Hye (edited) Governance: South Asian Perspectives, University Press Limited, 2000.

“ Foreign Direct Investment in Bangladesh , Issues of Long-run Sustainability ,” lead author, World Bank, 1999.

“ Bangladesh Trade Liberalization. Its Pace and Impacts ,” co-author, World Bank, Report No. 19591-BD, 1999.

“ Bangladesh 2020: A Long-run Perspective Study ,” lead author, a joint publication of World Bank and Bangladesh Center for Advanced Studies, University Press Limited, Dhaka 1998 .

“Non-Traditional Exports and Economic Performance: Review and Empirical Evidence ,” in MG Quibria (edited), The Bangladesh Economy in Transition , Oxford University Press, 1997.

“ Public Expenditure and Economic Performance: A Comparison of Developed and Low-income Developing Economies ,” in the Journal of International Development , Vol. 5, No. 1, January-February 1993.

“ Government Control and Economic Growth in Asia: Evidence from Time Series Data ,” in The Pakistan Development Review , Vol. 32, No. 2, Summer 1993.

“ Privatizing Public Enterprises in Bangladesh : A Simulation Analysis of Macroeconomic Impacts ,” in Applied Economics , Vol. 21, No. 9, September 1989.

“ Towards a Framework for Integrating Employment and Stabilization Policies in Developing Asia ,” a publication of UNDP-ILO, September, 1989.

“ Money, Inflation, Output and Causality: The Bangladesh Case, 1974-1985 ,” in The Bangladesh Development Studies , Vol. XVI, No. 1, March 1988.

“ Readings in Macroeconomic Issues ,” Ginn Press, Simon and Schuster Higher Education Publication Group, Massachusetts , 1988.

“ The Deficit-Interest Rate Relationship: The Crowding Out Debate isn't Over Yet,” with J. Jones, in GSM Business Review , Chicago , 1988.

“ Non-Competitive Imports in Planning Models: The Bangladesh Case ,” in The Bangladesh Development Studies , Vol. XV, No. 3, September 1987.

“ Macroeconomic Impacts of Import Substitution and Export Promotion Policies: General Equilibrium Simulations for Bangladesh ,” in International Journal of Modeling and Simulation , Vol. 7, No. 1, 1987.

“ Validating the Conventional Paradigm about Budget Deficits and Interest Rates ,” in Atlantic Economic Journal , Vol. XIV, No. 3, September 1986, with J. Jones.