Science in Context

Research Article

Economic Planning of the Free Market in Israel during the First Decade: The Influence of Don Patinkin on Israeli Policy Discourse

Arie Krampfa1

a1 Max Planck Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science


Following World War II, as macroeconomics and econometrics became a necessary tool for policy-making, economists worldwide rose in influence. Those economists in peripheral and new countries were especially important as they could wield the instruments essential in forming states. Israel was no exception. In Israel this process was associated with the establishment of the economics department at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Falk Project, led by Don Patinkin and the community of economists that he nurtured. This article poses three questions regarding Patinkin's influence and his role in the process of state formation. First, how did he affect economic policy discourse in Israel; second, what role did Patinkin and his students play in the process of state formation; and finally, what was the effect of Patinkin and his students on Israeli government policies? I argue that Patinkin had a specific and irreducible influence on the localization of pro-market ideas and policies in Israel, and that he and his students contributed to the consolidation of the state autonomy and capacity. Furthermore, I argue that they contributed to a more strict implementation of the recession policy in the mid-1960s.