The Bank of Israel - Vol. 1

By Haim Barkai; Nissan Liviatan | Go to book overview

Preface

Several years ago, when David Klein had just started his term as governor of the Bank of Israel, he asked me to edit a book to commemorate the golden anniversary of Israel’s central bank, which had been established in December 1954. My first reaction was hesitant, but later I was convinced that it would be possible to embark on a serious research project to commemorate the event. This is especially the case in Israel, which during those fifty years had completed a cycle in macroeconomic development: loss of control of inflation and the reestablishment of price stability within the framework of a different monetary system. I saw in the explanation of this cycle a professional challenge that deserved a research project.

Thus, I returned to the governor with a practical proposition based on the following principles: (a) The authors shall be given full academic freedom to express their views, even though the Bank of Israel is financing the project. (b) To safeguard the objectivity of the research, the editors shall choose the authors from the ranks of academia, excluding economists and officials of the bank, and the bank shall pay them at prevailing world rates. (c) To benefit from the views and experience of the top Bank of Israel officials who implemented the bank’s policies in the past, the authors shall interview these officials and summarize their views about the policies undertaken during and after their terms in office. The Governor accepted these principles willingly and even made some suggestions about the practical implementation of the project.

I then asked Professor Haim Barkai to join me as coeditor. He is an expert on the historical background of the establishment of the Bank of Israel and the conduct of monetary policy over time. He has written extensively on monetary policy in Israel and has chaired the advisory council of the bank. Together we

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