Austrian Economics as a relevant research program

Prof. Daniel J. Smith of Middle Tennessee State University in this paper argues for relevance of Austrian economics:

What is the relevancy of modern Austrian economics? Austrian economics, from its origins, has attempted to push economics towards greater relevance by developing and refining a methodological approach that enhances the operational validity of its scientific conclusions for decision-making in the real world. In a theoretical paradigm, this led to the development of theoretical insights on significant economic phenomena often excluded from static economics models. As the economics profession took an empirical turn, modern Austrian economics has demonstrated its continued relevancy through empirical methods that apply economic theory to pressing, long-standing policy issues.

What is relevancy:

…what I mean by relevance is specifically that we do scientific research with policy relevance and that we arrive at scientific conclusions that do not rely on limiting assumptions to the extent that would lead to potentially adverse unintended consequences if used today or in the future, as a basis for real-world decision-making (see, for instance, Munger 2022). It is the distinction, according to Radomysler (1946, p. 198), “between theory that does apply to reality and theory that does not.” An academic can eschew public policy and be wholly concerned only with long-standing problems in political economy but still seek to produce relevant research under this definition.


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