Patrick Clawson

Patrick Lyell Clawson
Patrick Clawson.png
Portrait of Clawson from The Washington Institute.
Born (1951-03-30) March 30, 1951 (age 68)
Nationality American
Alma mater Oberlin College & The New School for Social Research
Occupation Economist, Middle East scholar

Patrick Lyell Clawson (born March 30, 1951[1]) is an American economist and Middle East scholar. He is currently the Director for Research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and senior editor of Middle East Quarterly.


Born in Alexandria, Virginia, Clawson graduated with a B.A. from Oberlin College in 1973 and earned a Ph.D. from The New School for Social Research in 1978. He taught at Seton Hall University from 1979–1981 and served as an economist for the International Monetary Fund from 1981 until 1985, when he took a position as a senior economist with the World Bank.

Clawson has published many articles on the Middle East in Foreign Affairs, International Economy, Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics and Middle East Journal. He has additionally published opinion pieces inThe New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. Clawson was co-convenor of the Presidential Study Group organized by The Washington Institute.[2] The group published its recommendations to the new Bush administration in the form of a monograph, Navigating Through Turbulence: America and the Middle East in a New Century, published by The Washington Institute in 2001.

Clawson has testified before congressional committees more than twenty times and has served as an expert witness in more than thirty federal cases against Iran.[3]

On September 21, 2012, Clawson drew criticism for a presentation on September 21, 2012 in which he suggested the United States could consider the use of "crisis initiation" as a method of provoking Iran into war. This was part of a presentation given with Dennis Ross and David Makovsky at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy entitled How to Build U.S.-Israeli Coordination on Preventing an Iranian Nuclear Breakout.[4][5][6]


Clawson first appeared on C-SPAN in a 1990 Forum as a Research Scholar for the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and has since appeared upwards of two dozen times.[7]




  • The Andean Cocaine Industry. St. Martin’s Press, August 1996. (Co-authored with Rensselaer W. Lee III) ISBN 9780312124007
  • Checking Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions. Strategic Studies Institute, 2004. (Co-authored with Henry D. Sokolski) ISBN 1-58487-149-0 (PDF)
  • The Monetary History of Iran: From the Safavids to the Qajars. London: I.B. Tauris, 2013. (Co-authored with Rudi Matthee & Willem Floor) ISBN 9781780760797

Contributed Works



Reviews by other authors

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