The Economics and Society Program at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute was founded because the institute has taken upon itself to identify the widening gaps in Israeli society, analyze them, and propose practical ways to reduce them. The program aims to create tools that will enable the public to participate in the socioeconomics discourse and to influence socioeconomic policy in Israel, with a focus on the key topical issues, including the income distribution, the
labor market, and the public sector.
The program’s participants consist of economists who are prominent in the academic world and in the Israeli economy as well as social scientists in other fields. They write position papers and conduct research using recognized methods. Thus the program offers professional alternatives to the current economic policy; these alternatives promote sustainable growth that is based on the well-being of the inhabitants and on reducing inequality between them.
A unique voice in Israel is being heard as a result of the program, which aims to help change the prevailing view of socioeconomic issues in two main ways: first, by developing a critical stance based on a fundamental understanding of the theories and economic concepts used in the public discourse, and second, by providing tools for countering the arguments of the proponents of conservative economic views – tools that are not yet sufficiently developed – supported by data that have been processed by recognized methods so that they can be presented to the public, the media, and policy makers. These two paths of action will make it possible to be involved in real time in the debate on issues that concern the public and to influence socioeconomic policy-making.