Central Bank Cooperation at the Bank for International Settlements

17 May 2005

Press release

A new book, covering the history of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) from 1930 to 1973, is being published today by Cambridge University Press.

Central Bank Cooperation at the Bank for International Settlements, 1930-1973 is the work of Gianni Toniolo, Professor of Economics at the Università di Roma Tor Vergata and Research Professor at Duke University. He was assisted by the BIS's archivist, historian Piet Clement.

The book tells the story of the BIS from its founding in Basel, Switzerland in 1930 to the end of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates in the 1970s. While the focus is on cooperation among the main central banks for the stability and efficiency of the international monetary system, the book also offers an institutional history of the BIS.

BIS General Manager Malcolm Knight welcomed the book's publication and said, "It is a good thing to look back once in a while. For an international organisation such as the BIS, it is a healthy and instructive exercise to have its past performance evaluated by an external expert such as Professor Toniolo, who has steeped himself in the Bank's history. The fact that Professor Toniolo's book is being published today is particularly auspicious, as it is exactly 75 years since the BIS first opened its doors for business."

Mr Knight continued, "By gaining a better understanding of the past - its successes and its setbacks - we are able to make a more balanced judgment of the present and, it is hoped, to look with more confidence to the future."

Copies of the book are available from Cambridge University Press.

Notes for editors

Gianni Toniolo

Gianni Toniolo is Professor of Economics at the Università di Roma Tor Vergata (Italy) and Research Professor at Duke University (United States). A former Professor of Economics and Chair of the Economics Department at the University of Venice, he has held visiting positions at several other universities and is a research fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London and a member of the European Academy.

Professor Toniolo is the author of several books on European and Italian economic growth from 1800 to the present and on the history of financial markets and institutions with special reference to central banking, including The European Economy between the Wars (1997, with C H Feinstein and P Termin) and An Economic History of Liberal Italy, 1850-1918 (1990). He is the editor of 17 books, including Patterns of European Industrialization: The Nineteenth Century (1991, with R E Sylla), Central Banks' Independence in Historical Perspective (1988) and Economic Growth in Europe since 1945 (1996, with N Crafts). Professor Toniolo is co-editor (with P Ciocca and G Federico) of Rivista di Storia Economica.