An empirical look at Austrian trade cycle theory

From Robert B. Lester and Jonathan S. Wolff:

Austrian Business Cycle Theory, as espoused by Mises (1912,1949) and Hayek (1935), predicts changes in the economy’s structure of production following an unexpected change in monetary policy. In particular, the theory predicts that following a credit expansion the production and price of goods further away from final consumption increase relative to the production of other goods in the economy. Despite the emphasis on the importance of relative prices and the structure of production, most of the existing empirical work discussing the relevance of the theory uses aggregate data. We rectify this, by using stage-of-process data to illustrate the relevance of the theory. We find that mechanisms emphasized by the theory are either not supported by the empirical results or are of second order importance in explaining the e ffects of monetary policy.


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