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Hayek's Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle

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  • Harald Hagemann

    (Universität Hohenheim)

Abstract

The essay begins with Hayek's grappling with the equilibrium framework as the starting point for the analysis of cyclical fluctuations and the fundamental methodological challenge raised by Lowe's attack against the construction of business-cycle theory within the system of general economic equilibrium. It then shows that Hayek elaborated his Austrian theory of the business cycle on the innovative combination of five building blocks: (1) Wicksell's theory of the cumulative process where price changes are caused by the discrepancy between the market rate and the natural (equilibrium) rate of interest; (2) Mises's theory of money and credit in which banks artificially lowering the money (market) rate of interest are responsible for overinvestment and a misallocation of resources which necessarily has to be corrected; (3) Böhm-Bawerk's theory of capital with its emphasis on the time structure of the production process; (4) Cantillon effects of changes in the money supply on the price structure and hence on the structure of production (non-neutrality of money); (5) Ricardo effects of a shortage of consumption goods on the production of investment goods (disproportionality of circulating and fixed capital).

Suggested Citation

  • Harald Hagemann, 2024. "Hayek's Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle," GREDEG Working Papers 2024-06, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France.
  • Handle: RePEc:gre:wpaper:2024-06
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Plosser, Charles I, 1989. "Understanding Real Business Cycles," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 51-77, Summer.
    2. Dal-Pont Legrand, Muriel & Hagemann, Muriel Dal-Pont Legrand and Harald, 2013. "Lutz and Equilibrium Theories of the Business Cycle," OEconomia, Editions NecPlus, vol. 2013(02), pages 241-262, June.
    3. Scheide, Joachim, 1986. "New classical and Austrian business cycle theory: Is there a difference?," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 1317, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    4. Simon Kuznets, 1930. "Equilibrium Economics and Business-Cycle Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 44(3), pages 381-415.
    5. Axel Leijonhufvud, 1997. "The Wicksellian Heritage," Department of Economics Working Papers 9705, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics
    • B25 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Austrian; Stockholm School
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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