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An Empirical Analysis of the Austrian Business Cycle Theory

Listed author(s):
  • William Luther

    ()

  • Mark Cohen

    ()

The Austrian economists Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich A. Hayek developed a unique theory of the business cycle. In their view, an unsustainable boom ensues when the rate of interest prevailing in the market falls below the natural rate. The boom is characterized not only by an increase in aggregate production but also by a distortion of the structure of production. Similarly, the recession that follows is characterized by a decline in aggregate production as the structure of production is repaired. Hence, the Austrian account of macroeconomic fluctuation stresses the misallocation and reallocation of resources in addition to the overproduction and underproduction of more conventional business cycle theories. In a recent article, Lester and Wolff (Review of Austrian Economics 26(4):433–461, 2013 ) attempt to consider the empirical relevance of the Austrian view. We argue that the authors’ use of the federal funds rate as an indicator of monetary policy is inappropriate in that it fails to distinguish a low market interest rate from a market interest rate that is low relative to the natural rate. Using an estimate of the natural rate provided by Selgin et al. ( 2011 ), we attempt to improve upon their analysis. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 2014

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11293-014-9415-5
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Article provided by Springer & International Atlantic Economic Society in its journal Atlantic Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 42 (2014)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 153-169

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Handle: RePEc:kap:atlecj:v:42:y:2014:i:2:p:153-169
DOI: 10.1007/s11293-014-9415-5
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  1. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2002. "Sticky Information versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1295-1328.
  2. Bernanke, Ben S & Blinder, Alan S, 1992. "The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transmission," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 901-921, September.
  3. Robert Lester & Jonathan Wolff, 2013. "The empirical relevance of the Mises-Hayek theory of the trade cycle," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 26(4), pages 433-461, December.
  4. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2007. "Sticky Information in General Equilibrium," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(2-3), pages 603-613, 04-05.
  5. Peter J. Boettke & William J. Luther, 2010. "The Ordinary Economics of an Extraordinary Crisis," Chapters,in: Macroeconomic Theory and its Failings, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  6. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2005. "Nominal Rigidities and the Dynamic Effects of a Shock to Monetary Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 1-45, February.
  7. Roger Koppl & William Luther, 2012. "Hayek, Keynes, and modern macroeconomics," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 25(3), pages 223-241, September.
  8. Roger W. Garrison, 2004. "Overconsumption and Forced Saving in the Mises-Hayek Theory of the Business Cycle," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 36(2), pages 323-349, Summer.
  9. Anthony Carilli & Gregory Dempster, 2008. "Is the Austrian business cycle theory still relevant?," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 21(4), pages 271-281, December.
  10. Andrew Young, 2012. "The time structure of production in the US, 2002–2009," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 25(2), pages 77-92, June.
  11. Francis Bismans & Christelle Mougeot, 2009. "Austrian business cycle theory: Empirical evidence," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 22(3), pages 241-257, September.
  12. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
  13. Andrew Young, 2011. "Illustrating the importance of Austrian business cycle theory: A reply to Murphy, Barnett, and Block; A call for quantitative study," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 24(1), pages 19-28, March.
  14. Robert P. Murphy & William Barnett II & Walter E. Block, 2012. "Testing Austrian Business Cycle Theory? A Second Rejoinder To Andrew Young," Romanian Economic Business Review, Romanian-American University, vol. 7(3), pages 7-20, September.
  15. Lawrence H. White, 2011. "A Gold Standard with Free Banking Would Have Restrained the Boom and Bust," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 31(3), pages 497-504, Fall.
  16. Young, Andrew T., 2005. "Reallocating labor to initiate changes in capital structures: Hayek revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 89(3), pages 275-282, December.
  17. Mulligan, Robert F., 2010. "A fractal comparison of real and Austrian business cycle models," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 389(11), pages 2244-2267.
  18. Steven G. Horwitz & William J. Luther, 2011. "The Great Recession and its Aftermath from a Monetary Equilibrium Theory Perspective," Chapters,in: The Global Financial Crisis, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  19. Keeler, James P, 2001. "Empirical Evidence on the Austrian Business Cycle Theory," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 14(4), pages 331-351, December.
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