Case #2100.0

Cashing Out: The Future of Cash in Israel

Publication Date: January 29, 2018
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It is impossible to predict the future, but this is a task policymakers are effectively expected to do when deciding how to deploy scarce resources to the benefit of future constituents. This case therefore looks at one tool in particular—scenario planning—that actors in both the public and private sector employ to, while not predicting the future, prepare for it as much as possible. The case uses Ilan Steiner, head of the Currency Department at the Israeli Central Bank as the protagonist; one of the biggest questions he has had to address in the last few years has been what the future of cash will look like. Some people argue that the proliferation of new technologies—such as Venmo—will make paper currency obsolete. Others point out that paper currency demand is actually increasing in many countries, despite the availability of digital payment systems.

The case is divided into three sections. The first introduces Ilan Steiner and provides some background on currency use around the world. The second section introduces scenario planning and then discusses how railway executives employed scenario planning to investigate possible futures for coal demand and their impact on the railway industry. The last section is a memo ‘from’ Ilan that requests students to prepare their own scenario plan for the future of cash in Israel.

Learning Objective:
The primary teaching goal is to introduce students to the scenario planning technique and have them practice it. Students should understand the key steps to the exercise, and the purpose of each. They should then be able to critically evaluate a topic, in this case the future of cash in Israel, and extract the information they need to effectively carry out the scenario planning exercise—and transfer these skills to their careers when exploring an area of uncertainty.

Other Details

Case Author:
Benjamin Gilles
Faculty Lead:
Mark Fagan
Pages (incl. exhibits):