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On the Empirical Relevance of the Mises–Hayek Theory of the Trade Cycle

In: Studies in Austrian Macroeconomics

Author

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  • William J. Luther
  • Mark Cohen

Abstract

Lester and Wolff (2013) find little empirical support for the Austrian business cycle theory. According to their analysis, an unexpected monetary shock does not alter the structure of production in a way consistent with the Austrian view. Rather than increasing production in early and late stages relative to middle stages, they find the opposite – a positive monetary shock typically decreases production in early and late stages relative to middle stages. We argue that the measures of production and prices employed by Lester and Wolff (2013) are constructed in such a way that makes them inappropriate for assessing the empirical relevance of the Austrian business cycle theory’s unique features. After describing how these measures are constructed and why using ratios of stages is problematic, we use a structural vector autoregression to consider the effects of a monetary shock on each stage of the production process. We show that, with a clearer understanding of what is actually being measured by the stage of process data, the results are consistent with (but not exclusive to) the Austrian view.

Suggested Citation

  • William J. Luther & Mark Cohen, 2016. "On the Empirical Relevance of the Mises–Hayek Theory of the Trade Cycle," Advances in Austrian Economics, in: Steven Horwitz (ed.), Studies in Austrian Macroeconomics, volume 20, pages 79-103, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:aaeczz:s1529-213420160000020005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nicolas Cachanosky, 2015. "Expectation in Austrian business cycle theory: Market share matters," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 151-165, June.
    2. 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.
    3. Hayek, F. A., 2012. "Hayek on Hayek," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226321202 edited by Kresge, Stephen & Wenar, Leif, November.
    4. Nicolas Cachanosky, 2014. "The Mises-Hayek business cycle theory, fiat currencies and open economies," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 27(3), pages 281-299, September.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Boettke, Peter J. & Coyne, Christopher J. & Leeson, Peter T., 2013. "Comparative historical political economy," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(3), pages 285-301, September.
    8. 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.
    9. N. Cachanosky & P. Lewin, 2014. "Roundaboutness is Not a Mysterious Concept: A Financial Application to Capital Theory," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(4), pages 648-665, October.
    10. Selgin, George & Beckworth, David & Bahadir, Berrak, 2015. "The productivity gap: Monetary policy, the subprime boom, and the post-2001 productivity surge," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 189-207.
    11. 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.
    12. Young, Andrew T., 2005. "Reallocating labor to initiate changes in capital structures: Hayek revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 89(3), pages 275-282, December.
    13. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cameron Harwick, 2022. "Unmixing the metaphors of Austrian capital theory," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 35(2), pages 163-176, June.
    2. William J. Luther & J. P. McElyea, 2018. "Austrian Macroeconomics in Search of Its Uniqueness," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 33(Summer 20), pages 1-20.
    3. William J. Luther, 2021. "Two paths forward for Austrian macroeconomics," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 34(2), pages 289-297, June.
    4. Cameron Harwick, 2019. "Bubbles and Broad Monetary Aggregates: Toward a Consensus Approach to Business Cycles," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 45(2), pages 250-268, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Austrian; business cycle; macroeconomic fluctuation; stage of process; structure of production; B53; E20; E22; E23; E32; E40;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B53 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Austrian
    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General

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