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Saturday, May 02, 2009

"Austrian Business Cycle Theory"

John Quiggin explains why Austrian business cycle theory "hasn’t developed in any positive way" since the 1920's, and has since become "ossified dogma":

Austrian Business Cycle Theory, by John Quiggin: I’ve long promised a post on Austrian Business Cycle Theory, and here it is. For those who would rather get straight to the conclusion, it’s one I share in broad terms with most of the mainstream economists who’ve looked at the theory, from Tyler Cowen, Bryan Caplan and Gordon Tullock at the libertarian/Chicago end of the spectrum to Keynesians like Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong.

To sum up, although the Austrian School was at the forefront of business cycle theory in the 1920s, it hasn’t developed in any positive way since then. The central idea of the credit cycle is an important one, particularly as it applies to the business cycle in the presence of a largely unregulated financial system. But the Austrians balked at the interventionist implications of their own position, and failed to engage seriously with Keynesian ideas.

The result (like orthodox Marxism) is a research program that was active and progressive a century or so ago but has now become an ossified dogma. Like all such dogmatic orthodoxies, it provides believers with the illusion of a complete explanation but ceases to respond in a progressive way to empirical violations of its predictions or to theoretical objections. To the extent that anything positive remains, it is likely to be developed by non-Austrians such as the post-Keynesian followers of Hyman Minsky. ... [...continue reading...]

    Posted by on Saturday, May 2, 2009 at 05:48 PM in Economics, Methodology | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (30)


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