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The Israeli Economy, 1985-1998: From Government Intervention to Market Economics

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Overview

From 1973 to 1985, the Israeli economy suffered a deep crisis: the growth rate declined, foreign debt increased, and inflation soared to annual rates of a few hundred percent. This book analyzes the structural reforms initiated between 1985 and 1998 that transformed the Israeli economy from one of heavy government intervention to a market-oriented, open economy. The reforms introduced fiscal discipline, increased central bank independence, and reduced government intervention in capital, labor, and financial markets. Also, competition was fostered in monopoly-controlled markets. The results of these reforms include, among others: a decline from 77 percent to 55 percent in the government expenditure portion of the gross domestic product, a decline from 65 percent of credit volume to 5 percent in government involvement in directing credit, and almost complete elimination of the tight control of the foreign-exchange market. These reforms, together with the mass migration into Israel from the former Soviet Union and the peace process with Israel's neighbors, accelerated economic growth, particularly in the business sector.Topics discussed include the impact of macroeconomic policy and structural reforms on growth, employment, inflation, balance of payments, and the rapid expansion of high-tech industry. The book also examines the consequent increase in income inequality and related problems.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262025188
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 9/27/2002
  • Pages: 546
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Avi Ben-Bassat is Professor of Economics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

From 1999 to 2001, he was Director General of Israel's Ministry of Finance.

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Table of Contents

Preface: Michael Bruno - Teacher and Leader
Introduction
Contributors
1 The Obstacle Course to a Market Economy in Israel 1
2 Reducing the Relative Size of Government in Israel after 1985 61
3 A Monetary Labyrinth: Instruments and the Conduct of Monetary Policy in Israel, 1987-1998 85
4 The Disinflation Process in Israel in the Past Decade 129
5 Israeli Inflation from an International Perspective 157
6 Reform in the Israeli Financial System and the Flow of Funds of Publicly Traded Manufacturing Firms 189
7 Pension Fund Reform 221
8 Liberalization in the Capital Account of the Balance of Payments 243
9 The Import-Liberalization and Abolition of Devaluation Substitutes Policy: Implications for the Israeli Economy 281
10 Structural Changes in the Israeli Public Utilities - The Reform That Never Was 309
11 Integration of Immigrants from the Former Soviet Union in the Israeli Labor Market 349
12 The Flexibility of the Israeli Labor Market 379
13 Capital Accumulation, Productivity, and Growth in the Israeli Economy 423
14 Structural Change and the Emergence of Israel's High-Tech Sector 445
15 The Rise of Earning Inequality 485
Index 519
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