December 2, 2005 Helliwell traces the changes that have occurred at the Bank of Canada since the early 1960s, when he first began a long and extensive relationship with the institution and its staff. He begins with his work on the Royal Commission on Banking and Finance (the Porter Commission) and continues over the next 40 years, giving particular focus to the Bank's analytic and research activities. Although he is careful to note the benefits of alternative analytical and information-gathering techniques, such as the extensive mail and direct interview survey that he and his colleagues conducted as part of the Royal Commission, Helliwell devotes most of his attention to the Bank's econometric modelling efforts, starting with RDX1 and RDX2 in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He cites some of the internal, as well as external, obstacles that had to be overcome as the Bank's modelling efforts advanced, and how shifting trends in the economics profession have sometimes posed a challenge. Helliwell concludes that these developments helped the Bank to come of age and take its place in the front ranks of the world's evidence-based policy-research institutions.
The authors document the research output of 34 central banks from 1990 to 2003, and use proxies of research inputs to measure the research productivity of central banks over this period.