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Purpose – To respond to a paper by D'Amico and Boettke arguing that certain scholars, including myself, whom they label “Neuro-Hayekians” have both oversold the importance…
Purpose – To respond to a paper by D'Amico and Boettke arguing that certain scholars, including myself, whom they label “Neuro-Hayekians” have both oversold the importance of Hayek's The Sensory Order for understanding his economics and misunderstood the importance of institutions as opposed to brains/minds in generating social order.
Methodology/approach – I offer a different interpretation of my own work, particularly my use of the word “foundational” to describe the role of The Sensory Order in Hayek's system as well as a criticism of D'Amico and Boettke's apparent dualism.
Finding – On a more careful reading of my own work, as well as that of Hayek himself, I argue that I am not guilty of holding the view that D'Amico and Boettke attribute to me.
Research limitations/implications – The major implication of this exchange is that there is much more agreement than D'Amico and Boettke seem to think.
Originality/value of paper – The value of this paper is found in its attempt to make clear that those scholars arguing for the importance of Hayek's cognitive theory in understanding his work are not arguing that it is a necessary or sufficient condition for understanding his system. Rather, it is valuable for grasping the interconnectedness of his theories of the mind and the market and the relationship between them.
The chapter argues that, for the long-term successful survival of the Austrian School as a distinct school of thought, the work on the theory must not be sacrificed in the…
The chapter argues that, for the long-term successful survival of the Austrian School as a distinct school of thought, the work on the theory must not be sacrificed in the name of short-term success in producing applied pieces of scholarship and of communicating with the mainstream. Advances in modern work in pure theory and methodology provide a necessary glue connecting individual pieces of applied research – and the debates about boundaries of the school contribute toward the reappraisal of Austrian School identity.
A successful scholarly movement must have thick vertical relationships, there must be an actual scholarly community comprising teacher/student relationships as well as regular seminars, conferences, journals, and book series. A successful movement must also have rich horizontal relationships, members in the community must have connections to others in the broader scholarly community. Boettke has argued that the Austrian tradition is failing to maximize its impact because, though rich in vertical relationships, it is short on horizontal relationships. Like Boettke, the author argues that our natural dialogical partners might not be economists but philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists, and historians. Moreover, the author argues, it is unclear that Austrian economists can expect to be influential, if by influential we mean acceptance by mainstream economists, without abandoning Austrian economics. As such, each Austrian economist should doggedly pursue the truth, even if it does not bring market share in the marketplace of ideas.
Purpose – To defend my past work against the charge that it has exaggerated the importance of The Sensory Order or mistaken its proper role in Hayek's scholarship.
Methodology/approach – I review the evidence given by D'Amico and Boettke and show that such evidence does not imply exaggeration or distortion regarding the nature and importance of The Sensory Order in Hayek's oeuvre.
Findings – Hayek's The Sensory Order was very important, but you can understand his economics without having read it.
Research limitations/implications – The paper only discusses some criticisms of my work on Hayek and a few related points. It does not provide a detailed or extensive account of either The Sensory Order or the role of that work in Hayek's economics.
Originality/value of paper – The work is “original” because it defends my past work against a criticism that previously did not exist. My defense is valuable to the extent that the criticism of D'Amico and Boettke is considered relevant and interesting.
We argue that the future of Austrian political economy rests on the study of how institutional entrepreneurs discover and implement alternative institutional arrangements…
We argue that the future of Austrian political economy rests on the study of how institutional entrepreneurs discover and implement alternative institutional arrangements conducive to economic growth. This requires a dual level of analysis in spontaneous order studies. How such institutional arrangements manifest themselves is ultimately an empirical question. As a progressive research program, Austrian political economy will entail cross-fertilization with other empirical branches of political economy that illustrate its own central theoretical contributions to political economy, namely economic calculation, entrepreneurship, and spontaneous order. Accordingly, we argue that such cross-fertilization with the work of Ronald Coase and Elinor Ostrom will further expound the institutional counterpart of “rivalry” in the market process, namely polycentricism and its empirical manifestation. Understanding the distinct relationship between rivalry and polycentricism will provide the central theoretical underpinning of institutional evolution.
This chapter provides a comprehensive survey of the contributions of the Austrian school of economics, with specific emphasis on post-WWII developments. We provide a brief…
This chapter provides a comprehensive survey of the contributions of the Austrian school of economics, with specific emphasis on post-WWII developments. We provide a brief history and overview of the original theorists of the Austrian school in order to set the stage for the subsequent development of their ideas by Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek. In discussing the main ideas of Mises and Hayek, we focus on how their work provided the foundations for the modern Austrian school, which included Ludwig Lachmann, Murray Rothbard and Israel Kirzner. These scholars contributed to the Austrian revival in the 1960s and 1970s, which, in turn, set the stage for the emergence of the contemporary Austrian school in the 1980s. We review the contemporary development of the Austrian school and, in doing so, discuss the tensions, alternative paths, and the promising future of Austrian economics.
There are more scholars teaching and actively engaged in research associated with the Austrian School of Economics now than at any other time in its history. However…
There are more scholars teaching and actively engaged in research associated with the Austrian School of Economics now than at any other time in its history. However, there is still something seriously wrong within the Austrian School and changes must be made both individually and collectively. In this piece, the author first discusses scientific progress with an emphasis on the individual behavior that is required to contribute to science, and the horizontal relationships that are required for the spread of ideas within a scientific community. Next, the author discusses the example of the Austrian school from 1950 to today in terms of these horizontal relationships within the profession and, in particular, in comparison with other mainline contributors during the same time period. The author then will address the multiplicity of horizontal relationships that might be explored as alternative discourse communities in the contemporary intellectual landscape. Lastly, the author concludes that the Austrian School of Economics must cultivate an explicit awareness of plausible, intrinsically interesting, and creative research agendas, and must therefore regard their work as a productive input into the ongoing research production of others within the broader community of economists and political economists.
Purpose – To recognize the comments made by Horwitz (2010) and Koppl (2010) in their attempts to reply to D'Amico and Boettke (forthcoming), “Making Sense out of The…
Purpose – To recognize the comments made by Horwitz (2010) and Koppl (2010) in their attempts to reply to D'Amico and Boettke (forthcoming), “Making Sense out of The Sensory Order.” Furthermore, this paper hopes to explain what role D'Amico and Boettke do see for cognitive neuroscience in the study of Austrian economics.
Methodology/approach – Some brief summary comments are presented about Horwitz (2010) and Koppl (2010). Then a general framework of individual learning and its effects upon social institutions and economic processes is described by referring to Cowan and Rizzo (1996) and Denzau and North (1994).
Findings – Hayek was a political economist first and foremost. Whatever the status of his research in theoretical psychology attains, it does not change the fact that we as economists would do well (especially young economists) to focus on his substantive contributions to economics and political economy.
Research limitations/implications – Though space and time constraints did not afford this at present, further research would benefit from an intensive survey of the empirical findings available in the neuroscience and neuroeconomics literatures. How do such findings map onto the proposed frameworks of Hayekian economics provided by Koppl compared to D'Amico and Boettke.
Originality/value of paper – This paper takes notice of the historical linkage between Cowan and Rizzo's (1996) cognitive model of individual learning within the broader tradition of subjectivist/Hayekian/Austrian economics.
Robust political economy (RPE) is a research program that combines insights from Austrian economics and public choice to evaluate the performance of institutions in cases of limited knowledge and limited altruism, or “worst-case scenarios.” Many critics of RPE argue that it is too narrowly focused on the bad motivations and inadequacies of social actors while smuggling in classical liberal normative commitments as part of a purported solution to these problems. This chapter takes a different tack by highlighting the ways that RPE as currently understood may not be robust against particularly bad conduct. It suggests that depending on the parameters of what constitutes a worst-case scenario, classical liberal institutions, especially a minimal state, may turn out to be less robust than some conservative or social democratic alternatives.
This paper explores the interface between institutional theory and Austrian theory. We examine mainstream institutionalism as exemplified by D. C. North in his work with…
This paper explores the interface between institutional theory and Austrian theory. We examine mainstream institutionalism as exemplified by D. C. North in his work with Wallis and Weingast on the elite compact theory of social order and of transitions to impersonal rights, and propose instead an Austrian process-oriented perspective. We argue that mainstream institutionalism does not fully account for the efficiency of impersonal rules. Their efficiency can be better explained by a market for rules, which in turn requires a stable plurality of governance providers. Since an equilibrium of plural providers requires stable power polycentricity, the implication goes against consolidating organized means for violence as a doorstep condition to successful transitions. The paper demonstrates how to employ Ostroms’ Bloomington School Institutionalism to shift, convert, and recalibrate mainstream institutionalism's themes into an Austrian process-oriented theory.