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Introduction

ByCHARLES WYPLOSZ

This volume brings together twelve contributions to a conference convened in May 2008 on the occasion of the retirement of Alexander Swoboda. The themes covered reflect Alexander’s own research interests pursued over four decades. It is a testimony to his vision that these themes remain burning issues today. As several contributions highlight, some of his results have well sustained the passage of time. But the papers collected here all look forward as they provide considered assessments by some of the best researchers of virtually all the hotly debated issues that concern monetary policies see from an international perspective. The contributions were specially commissioned from people who (1) have been associated with Alexander Swoboda, and (2) have made important contributions to the policy-relevant literature. They were asked to reflect on the state of the art and to provide their best judgment of where the respective debates may be leading us to. The chapters are arranged in three main parts. Part I deals with the international financial architecture (Chapters 1 and 2). Part II examines the ever-controversial role of exchange rate regimes (Chapters 3 to 7). Part III takes stock of the conduct of monetary policy and the challenges posed by the inflation-targeting strategy (Chapters 8 and 11). The book concludes with a personal appreciation by Paul Volcker, whose tenure at the head of the Fed was marked by the shift to the interest rate instrument.