Mainstream economics and the Austrian school
Keywords:philosophy of economics, Austrian school of economics, economic methodology, epistemology of economics, preferences, Ludwig von Mises
In this paper, I compare the methodology of the Austrian school to two alternative methodologies from the economic mainstream: the 'orthodox' and revealed preference methodologies. I argue that Austrian school theorists should stop describing themselves as 'extreme apriorists' (or writing suggestively to that effect), and should start giving greater acknowledgement to the importance of empirical work within their research program. The motivation for this dialectical shift is threefold: the approach is more faithful to their actual practices, it better illustrates the underlying similarities between the mainstream and Austrian research paradigms, and it provides a philosophical foundation that is much more plausible in itself.