Why I Am Not an Austrian Economist
The harshest and most interesting criticism of an idea or theory comes from people who used to believe in it. This essay is no exception to this rule. In particular, I was drawn to its criticism of the lack of quantitative and mathematical analysis in the school of thought of Austrian Economics, as it made me ponder the most.
I had never considered that this practically amounted to self-censorship. As Caplan points out, the lack of quantitative methodology in papers by Austrian economists often results in them not being published in peer reviewed journals. I deduce that these papers are therefore less publicized, and analyzed.
Caplan’s discussion of the role of econometrics in Economics is a fascinating and important one that is being had all over the world. Should economics history generate theories, which are then analyzed using maths? Or should maths be the generator, and theories then be devised after discoveries? Or should no maths be used?
In my opinion, the answer lies somewhere in between the first and second proposal. I find the refusal of mathematics in any subject to be detrimental to its validity, particularly economics. Part of the reason for this is that people like numbers, and feel they are needed for something to be valid.