Economic History and Austrian Theory


  • Nicola Tynan Dickinson College, USA


Economic history has become an increasingly broad discipline, after a temporary narrowing following the cliometric revolution of the mid-twentieth century. Increasingly sophisticated econometric techniques are used to capture the institutional detail involved in the dynamics of historical change. An emphasis on institutional detail and processes that unfold due to individuals’ actions—as opposed to static, equilibrium outcomes—has long been a distinction between Austrian and neoclassical economics. Drawing on a range of topics in economic history, this article argues that, despite not being the dominant paradigm, Austrian economics can be useful for achieving a deeper understanding of questions that interest economic historians.