Robert Gilpin was a scholar of international political economy and the professor emeritus of Politics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He held the Eisenhower professorship. Gilpin specialized in political economy and international relations, especially the effect of multinational corporations on state autonomy.
Gilpin received his B.A. from the University of Vermont in 1952 and his M.S. from Cornell University in 1954. Following three years as an officer in the U.S. Navy, Gilpin completed his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, earning his doctorate in 1960. He joined the Princeton faculty in 1962 and earned tenure in 1967. He was a faculty associate of the Center of International Studies, and the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination.
Gilpin was a Guggenheim fellow in 1969, a Rockefeller fellow from 1967–68 and again from 1976–1977, and was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was a member of the American Political Science Association, for which he served as vice president from 1984–1985, and was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Gilpin describes his view of international relations and international political economy from a "realist" standpoint, explaining in his book Global Political Economy that he considers himself a "state-centric realist" in the tradition of prominent "classical realists" such as E. H. Carr and Hans Morgenthau. In the final years of his career, Gilpin focused his research interests in the application of "realist" thinking to contemporary American policies in the Middle East. Gilpin was openly critical of the politics surrounding the 2003 invasion of Iraq in his essay titled "War is Too Important to Be Left to Ideological Amateurs".Gilpin died on 20 June 2018.