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An Empirical Analysis of the Austrian Business Cycle Theory

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  • William Luther

    ()

  • Mark Cohen

    ()

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

  • William Luther & Mark Cohen, 2014. "An Empirical Analysis of the Austrian Business Cycle Theory," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 42(2), pages 153-169, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:atlecj:v:42:y:2014:i:2:p:153-169
    DOI: 10.1007/s11293-014-9415-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Adrián O. Ravier & Nicolás Cachanosky, 2015. "Fiscal Policy in Capital-Based Macroeconomics with Idle Resources," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 30(Winter 20), pages 81-95.
    2. Cachanosky, Nicolás & Lewin, Peter, 2016. "An empirical application of the EVA® framework to business cycles," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 60-67.
    3. repec:kap:revaec:v:30:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11138-016-0340-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Andrzej Jędruchniewicz, 2015. "The Price Structure in the Polish Business Cycle. The Downward Phase," Ekonomia journal, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw, vol. 40.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Austrian; Boom; Business cycle; Bust; Federal funds rate; Friedrich A. Hayek; Interest rate; Ludwig von Mises; Macroeconomic fluctuation; Monetary policy; Producer price index; Productivity rule; Stage of process; Taylor rule; B53; E32; E52; E53;

    JEL classification:

    • B53 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Austrian
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E53 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Deposit Insurance

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