October 2018

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      
Blog powered by Typepad

« My Latest FreemanOnline Column | Main | George Mason listed in the top 100 Academic Institutions in the Americas »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I wouldn't automatically exclude professional economists from my honor roll, but I don't think many of them would make it on their merits.

Are you counting Schumpeter as an Austrian school economist?
Menger (marginal revolution), Bawerk (only economist to be on money), Schumpeter (of course), Mises (distinguished AEA fellow), Hayek (Nobel prize winner) will be in.

Do you need to be dead to get in the calendar? It also depends how widely we cast our net. Lord Robbins should be included, but is he counted as an Austrian? I'll add Wieser to the list.

Since your asking, Pete, my guess is [D] 16-20. It matters how long the list is overall, though. Here is a list of 19 plausible candidates that come quickly to mind. I put it together before seeing Jerry's comment on Robbins, which is right. I'm probably missing some other huge obvious names. The earlier ones are more likely entrants of course.

1. Menger
2. Bohm-Bawerk
3. Mises
4. Hayek
5. Machlup
6. Haberler
7. Morgenstern
8. Rothbard
9. Kirzner
10. Lachmann
11. Wagner
12. Vaughn
13. Lavoie
14. Rizzo
15. O'Driscoll
16. Caldwell
17. Boettke
18. White
19. Selgin

Wonder about Rothbard. I've always been surprised that he never seemed to have achieved the same status as Mises did.

After including Adam Smith among the honorees, you said that they all had to have been professional economists.

But then you’d have to exclude Smith, and all the other founders and pioneers of the science, none of whom were professionals, and all of the future pioneers.

For, “Innovators and creative geniuses cannot be reared in schools. They are precisely the men who defy what the school has taught them.”

Ludwig von Mises

Progress can only come, as it always has, and must, from outside a profession that would fight it tooth and nail.

"Science progresses through the old professors' dying off."


And the young ones killed off?


You wrote,

"Wonder about Rothbard. I've always been surprised that he never seemed to have achieved the same status as Mises did."

To his credit, he wouldn't have wanted it. He placed Mises where he belonged, far above anyone else.


bet they will stop at Machlup on Koppl's list...

"Are you counting Schumpeter as an Austrian school economist?
Menger (marginal revolution), Bawerk (only economist to be on money), Schumpeter (of course), Mises (distinguished AEA fellow), Hayek (Nobel prize winner) will be in."

Adam Smith is on the notes over here.

Higgs possibly?

Funny, I got mine today too and didn't have a chance to go through date by date and see who was included. I think Roger's list up to 7, and 8 if we count Robbins. (Does DH Robertson count too? Buchanan?)

There are two different ways of contributing to economics, as a pathbreaking thinker, and as a propagator of the science. And while the lines between the two may be blurred, I think it's safe to put Hayek and Friedman more in the ranks of the propagators and Mises in that of the pathbreakers. And while I don't know of any great pathbreaker since Mises, we have one of the greatest propagators of all time with us right now, the modern Bastiat, Don Boudreaux.

Hutt was a fellow traveller as soon as he found the Austrians and someone listed him in a book of 16? great Austrians.

To get the number of Austrians in perspective we need to know the sub-totals of deceased and living economists in the calendar.

How can they leave out Roger Koppl:)

And, by the way, while Boudreaux is technically a professional, he's an honorary amateur, writing not for the profession but the public, not to confound but inform. There's no learned pretension, circumlocution, curves, angles, or tangents, but just the straithtforward economics of someone who really has something to say.

And how he can say it!

There's nobody like him today.

And hasn't been since Bastiat himself. Not Hayek nor even Friedman ever wrote like that.

And God knows Mises didn't.

Will be included:

Will be included, but are not "pure Austrians":
Schumpeter (his face is on the cover)

Should be included (and are possibly in there):

Should perhaps be included (but will not be):

Anyway, that would be my list (+ Loasby, but I don't know if he counts as a fellow traveler).


Well, if you are going to start counting Dennis Robertson as "Austrian," you might as well call any economist whoe you happen to like an "Austrian"!

For the record, I think I am not much more worthy of the label, which I've eschewed since grad school, than ol' Dennis himself. My great desire is to make a list of the top 100 monetary economists. OK, the top 100 of the last century. O.K., last half century. Whatever.

Zero, unless you are charitable and count Joseph Schumpeter as "Austrian," and not just Austrian.

I dunno, George, when you do things like write on Mises regression theorem in JMCB protests that you are not an Austrian may fall on deaf ears. That red A is seared into your chest, I'm afraid, and mine too!

BTW: How could I have neglected to list my old friend Don Boudreaux! Tyler belongs on my list. I would also count Dick Langlois. Dick is not generally identified as an Austrian, but his methods and arguments fall entirely within the paradigm IMHO. I should also have mentioned Dick's co-bloggers Peter Klein and Nicolai Foss. Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard would be a good candidate as well, except that he is classified as a political scientist. I'm sure there are still other obvious names I am continuing to neglect. Gee, I can remember when snapped elevator cable would have put an end to the Austrian school. We've got a pretty deep bench by now!

We are losing focus. The question was not a wish list, but a reality check. Look at the AEA calendar. Hint: the Austrian School is well represented. Hayek, in fact, not only makes the cover, but is discussed at length. But the list of birthdays highlighted, let me just say that Lachmann made the list --- go count from there.

I don't think you will find anyone that is both considered Austrian and continued producing major works in Economics after 1960 (personally I think that includes Hayek, but even if someone disagrees hes the single exception to the rule).

I already pointed out that Ludwig Lachmann made the list.

BTW, Mr Lesvic, Bastiat made the list.

I think it's important to know what the total amount of economists on the list is. If there are 365, then having 15-20 Austrians doesn't seem to weird. According to a statistic I once saw, about 10% of America's economists consider themself Austrian-like. So 20 doesn't seem to odd.

If there are only, say, 50 on the list; then 20 would be very nice.

And can we consider people like Buchanan, Say, Bastiat, Wicksell, Anderson, Hutt as Austrians? Depending on how you define Austrianism you could argue both ways, I think. (I'm not risking any 'hey, you defined it wrong!' so I'm not even going to try. I like an economist if he says sensible stuff and, according to my bias, a lot of sensible stuff comes from what we could call 'an austrian flavour'.)

So prof Boettke; I think, in order to give a well thought answer to your question, that these are questions that should be answered first. But I could be wrong, of course.

Dee the pessimist,

"I don't think you will find anyone that is both considered Austrian and continued producing major works in Economics after 1960"

Can you name some 'major works in economics after 1960' so we can get a benchmark to what you are comparing? The literature on free banking, the insights on the structure of production in man, economy & state, the Austrian revision of the Great Depression, monetary equilibrium, ... do seem to qualify - depending on your benchmark, of course.


I was talking about people listed on the calendar. Pete asked everyone to guess how many Austrian economists are represented.

I can't guess a number, but I have no doubt that no one that is listed will be both considered an Austrian economist that did not do their best work before 1960.

What interests me is whose views does the calendar reflect? Who exactly put it together? Given that hardly any major economists know anything about the history of economic thought, I wonder where the names come from? Brad DeLong?

This is a sensible question. But it doesn't take a calendar to know where the status of Austrian economics is among the mainstream. An economist could be considered great -- say Adam Smith -- but if you do economics like Smith today (or if you study Smith) you are not in high demand.

Prof Boettke,

So Bastiat made the list.

How did that mere amateur sneak in?

To give a well thought answer to an empirical question: (1) be a member of the American Economic Association; (2) since you are a member you would get the calendar; (3) since you are a member and an economist that would suggest you could count; and (4) look at the calendar and count.

The Austrian school is well represented --- perhaps as well or better than any other school of thought except perhaps Keynesianism. And I am not counting the fellow travelers, except Shackle (since he wrote under Hayek) -- so Alchian, Buchanan, Coase, North, etc. are not counting. Just those economists who were formally trained in the Austrian school tradition from Menger on.

Go back to my original post --- all 3 propositions I suggest are empirically false.

BTW, Selgin does not make the list for the AEA, but he would be counted as an Austrian in the way I am doing the count --- perhaps that would give you a hint as well.


Ludwig Lachmann published his JEL survey in the 1970s --- From Mises to Shackle.

I will concede to you -- Rothbard DID NOT make the list, nor did Israel Kirzner.

Does that say more about our profession, or about the modern Austrian school?

Ah! I thought the game was to guess before looking, Pete. My mistake. I don't have the calendar in my current location, which is not my permanent address. Can you please spill the beans?

The founding 3; Mises and Schumpeter; the group from the 1920s; and Shackle and Lachmann from the LSE. Biggest surprise inclusion was Lachmann, biggest surprise omission was Kirzner. Other than that, I think the list fairly represents those who have been trained in the Austrian tradition who made significant contributions to our understanding of the economic system are judged by their professional peers.

To answer Mario --- I think it is a by-product of a project Stigler embarked upon years ago, but don't know for sure. But I think it might reflect his influence even to this day.

Menger, Bohm-Bawerk, Wieser, Mises, Schumpeter, Machlup, Haberler, Hayek, Strigl, Shackle, Lachmann.

Missing anyone?

I don't know who produced the calendar Pete is talking about. So, one thing is to speculate who would deserve to be selected for such a calendar, and completely different thing to guess whom some specific group of people, with their peculiar preferences and biases have chosen. I suppose that majority of bloggers and readers here would eliminate for example de Soto, but include Selgin, while for example on mises.org they would do exactly the opposite.

My list:
Saravia della Calle
Juan de Mariana
Martin de Navaro
Domingo De Soto
Frederick Bastiat
Bohm Baverk
Robbins (before 1935-6)
Huerta de Soto

That's the list that I think comprises what the Austrian economics is.

As for who is usually omitted and why from the various lists, I just have read an otherwise good article in the Economic Affairs "Why Austrians are right about depressions" where Mises was not mentioned once! He did not make it even to the reference list whatsoever! Although maybe too extreme, I think that this case reflects pretty much a prevailing mood not only among the mainstream economists but also among the many "libertarians". Basically, AE is "politically correct" Hayek after 1937, Hayek of "impossibility of centralization of knowledge", of "Road to serfdom", blah blah, while MTTC and Prices and Production don't exist whatsoever (that "awful book", as Friedman said), Mises does not exist either, Rothbard even less.

Curiously enough, awarding Hayek a Nobel prize in economics explicitly for "Mises-Hayek business cycle theory" and specifically for the book "Prices and Production" never has led to wider acceptance or even consideration of the Mises-Hayek theory from 1920s and 1930s. What has been considered, and to some degree even accepted by the mainstream, was Hayek's political thought that has little to do with Austrian economics per se.

Prof Boettke,

You referred to "those economists who were formally trained in the Austrian school tradition from Menger on."

That's alright so long as we understand that Menger himself wasn't trained in it but created it, that he was an obscure outsider when he wrote his magnum opus, and recall "how much of the most original and enduring work (of the 19th Century) was due to complete outsiders unknown in orthodox circles."

See A Review of Economic Doctrines...by Hutchison, Pp 17, 145.

Suppose we created a calendar restricted to amateurs. Who among the founders, pioneers, and pathbreakers of the science would be excluded?


No mystery about who produced the calendar -- the American Economic Association. And the criteria is not ambiguous either --- publication in top outlets, publication of work that makes a lasting contribution, and teaching of PhD students who themselves go on to publish in top outlets, or publish work of lasting influence, and in turn teach a new generation of PhD students.

Why do people keep acting as if they don't know what the standards are for scientific advancement? Let alone who actually does the advancing.

If you want to keep arguing that Paul Samuelson or Joseph Stiglitz are not brilliant men, then go ahead. But you will be factually wrong. And the reality is that contemporary Austrian economics has not attracted similar minds to its research program. One way to deal with this is to insist that this is not true. Another is to ask "why?" I am more interested in asking "why?" and not accepting canned answers.

Dear professor Boettke,

If Rothbard and Kirzer were excluded from the list, is not that in direct contradiction to your assessment of the place of AE in the mainstream? If two most important Austrian economists in the second half of 20th century did not make it to the list, what that tells you? That Austrian economics is highly respected by AEA? I don't think so...


Nikolaj, both of these individuals were in the calender, check April 1.

Dr Boettke, what is your take on Kirzner not going on the calender, given that you've suggested him (seriously, I presume) for the Nobel prize?

Look at the list, Nikolaj. You can build on Mises, Hayek, Shackle, and Lachmann without being thereby unclean and taboo. Right now today that implies a huge opening for the Austrian theory of the trade cycle. But we have to know how to do it. Thumping Hayek's Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle and shouting about how it's all in there or something won't do the job. You need to know where the literature is at and how practicing macro theorists think. In other words, you need to go to your audience.

You don't have to out to meet any branch of economics where it is today. You can, if you like, sit atop a column in the desert and insist that the world come to you. But the world will not come to you and such a posture does nothing to improve economic discourse or policy. IMHO it is better to engage. Pete is right, we can and should engage. And, he is saying in part, such engagement is possible right now. Arguments about anti-Austrian biases are both false and unhelpful. Look at the Kirman paper from the recent conference on what's wrong with macro.

He criticizes DSGE (i.e. mainstream) macro models because convergence requires crazy amount of information. He's on about network topologies and self organizing systems. I think he misses some "Austrian" points and, in fact, I criticize the BRACE economics represented by Kirman. But we are talking about issues such as information to which a sophisticated Austrian economics can contribute. Such contributions, however, will require that we stop pouting about how we have been ghettoized and start engaging the mainstream right where it is now. Oh, and that we do so with genuine respect for the scholars who represent the mainstream. After all, they didn't get where they are for no reason.

Of those on Roger's list, Oskar Morgenstern made it. The main organizers were John Siegfried, the Secretary-Treasurer of the AEA (and someone I went to grad school with) and David Colander. 70 economists are thanked for being "consulted." That list includes Pete Boettke, Steve Horwitz, Bruce Caldwell, Fred Foldvary, Peter Klein, Doug MacKenzie, and me. The list looks pretty broad based, although I would say that if it is heavy with any group, it is people who are historians of thought or hang out with that gang.

Prof Boettke,

You wrote,

"If you want to keep arguing that Paul Samuelson or Joseph Stiglitz are not brilliant men, then go ahead. But you will be factually wrong."

And if you want to keep arguing that they are economists, and that the science is a monopoly of the profession, or even compatible with it, you will be factually wrong.

Factually wrong?

Well, these are matters of opinion, aren't they.

So I guess we'll just have to leave it at this:

It’s your opinion that the science and the profession are one, and mine that they are ineluctably antagonistic, that economics is a science of amateurs and, for the most part, a priestcraft of professionals, that the scientific professionals are the exception, not the rule, and honorary amateurs.

And, furthermore, that new ideas will emerge not from within but outside a profession that will fight them tooth and nail.

“You can go back as far as you want to and you will find history furnishing you this (until now) unwritten maxim for your guidance and profit. Whatever new thing a consensus…bets against, bet your money on that very card and do not be afraid…There was that primitive steam engine…in Greek times: a consensus made fun of it…the Marquis of Worcester’s steam engine, 250 years ago: a consensus made fun of it…Fulton’s steamboat of a century ago: a French consensus, including the Great Napoleon, made fun of it…Priestly, with his oxygen: a consensus scoffed at him, mobbed him, burned him out, banished him. While a consensus was proving by statistics and things that a steamship could not cross the Atlantic, a steamship did it…all the medical experts in Great Britain made fun of Jenner and inoculation…all the medical experts in Germany made fun of that…doctor…who…abolished…that awful disease, puerperal fever…reviled…hunted…persecuted him, broke his heart, killed him. Electric telegraph, Atlantic cable, telephone, all “toys,” and of no practical value – verdict of the consensuses…And…Pasteur and his…prodigious benefactions! Damned – each and every one of them in its turn – by frenzied and ferocious consensuses of medical and chemical experts comprising, for years, every member of the tribe in Europe…without even a casual look at what he was doing…and he pathetically imploring them to come and take at least one little look before making the damnation eternal…They shortened his life by their malignities and persecution…robbed the world of the further and priceless services of a man who – along certain lines and within certain limits – had done more for the human race than any other…in all its long history…The preacher has an old and tough reputation for bullheaded and unreasoning hostility to new light; why, he is not ‘in it’ with the doctor! Nor, perhaps, with some of the other breeds of experts that sit around and get up the consensuses and squelch the new things as fast as they come from the…plodders, the searchers, the inspired dreamers, the Pasteurs that come bearing pearls to scatter in the consensus sty.”

Mark Twain, On the Damned Human Race, P 467

“It would seem that the scientific profession does not always absorb novelties with alacrity. Moreover, professors are men who are constitutionally unable to conceive that the other fellow might be right. This holds for all times and places.”


“…advances come as students and disciples stand on the shoulder of their great master. All too often, however, the masters repudiate or fail to see the value of the advances of their successors.”


New generation of fresh thinkers is unequal to outsiders and amateurs. Rather they are younger professionals.


I don't know what you mean by "unequal" in this context, but if your point is that new ideas are coming from younger professionals rather than outsiders and amateurs, I'd like to see some evidence of it.

Prediction: I won’t.

Is there anything original written by Paul Samuelson or Stiglitz (original!!) that still stands when confronted with the real economy? And I really mean original, not something that was in the classics and than, due to ignorance, restated as new with some funny math clothing.


Stiglitz’ problem isn’t a lack of new ideas, but that he hasn’t even caught up with the old ones yet.

The “marginal revolution” of over a hundred years ago has passed him by. He has “observed” higher taxes on the rich having “no adverse effect." For he saw what happened above but not at the margin of profitability, where all change occurs. He saw the jobs created, in spite of the higher taxes, but not those that failed to emerge, because of them. That was hidden from a Nobel Prize winning empirical and mathematical “economist,” for economics is not an empirical and mathematical but theoretical and logical science.

His demand-side, cart before the horse economics was exploded hundreds of years ago by analogy with that of the foolish inn-keeper giving away money to be spent in his inn.

The Atlantic Monthly, of Oct, 2002, described him as a “moderate liberal economist” accepting “the basic premises of the free market, with certain limitations." But he has denied its most basic premise, the Invisible Hand.

Since that was simply a metaphor for all the invisible causal relations of economics, denial of it was of economics and human action itself.

And by the way, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for the startling revelation that the market wasn't perfect.

Perhaps they'll give me one too for pointing out that socialism isn't exactly perfect, either.


For Samuelson, his 1958 paper in which he argued that fiat money can exist in a world with overlapping generations. In the past decade, if this has not been his most frequently cited paper, it is definitely way up there. Allais did precede him by about a decade with the OLG idea in a paper in French that I think Samuelson only saw later. The idea is not in the classics.

Barkley credits Samuelson with the new idea that "fiat money can exist in a world with overlapping generations."

God, I wish I'd thought of that!


You can sneer all you want, but every country in the world now, including such gold exporters as South Africa and Russia, all have fiat currencies. While there was a burst of inflation in the 1970s on the final end of the last shadow of the gold standard, since then we have seen the general ending of hyperinflations around the world, with pathetic Zimbabwe being just about the only example in the last decade or so. His model showed you could have stable fiat currency, and by and large that is what we see, thanks to improved central bank management.

BTW, despite all the whining of all the gold bugs, the gold standard is not remotely on the policy plate anywhere. I suggest you think why that is the case. Indeed, for all the hysterical ranting and raving, the central banks do not give a damn. They could tank the price of gold tomorrow by rather small sales of their massive holdings, but avoid doing so as this would hurt too many financial interests, particularly all those whiney gold bugs out the wazoo to buy the way-over bubbled stuff. And right now about the last thing they want to see is any more parties in the financial system going bankrupt.

Quote from Barkley Rosser, "BTW, despite all the whining of all the gold bugs, the gold standard is not remotely on the policy plate anywhere. I suggest you think why that is the case. Indeed, for all the hysterical ranting and raving, the central banks do not give a damn."

Wow, that is a revelation! I hadn't thought of that! Why don't the central banks give a damn about gold? Maybe because it would mean the end of all their power? Nah, that couldn't be it!!!! Ha.


The Bank of England was started in the late 1600s and oversaw the setting up and running of the international gold standard during the 18th and 19th centuries. We had a gold standard for quite some time after the Fed was established in 1913. Learn some history.


Yes, we had a gold standard for an entire 20 years after the creation of the Fed. But then all the gold was just confiscated by the great gov't of the USA. Now, why would the gov't want all of that worthless gold? Why would the courts suddenly void all gold contracts? Not just so that everyone would be forced to use their worthless paper, right? I know about the history of the Fed, the confiscation of gold by Roosevelt during the depression, and the broken promise to other central banks of a fixed $35/ounce exchange rate in 1971 by Nixon.

Again, if gold is so worthless, why don't the central banks allow citizens to use it as money, if they wish? Why cannot the market decide (as it did in the past, before state control) which medium is best to use as money?

Can someone tell me who is actually on the cover of this calendar? I need to know for a school project and it would be much appreciated!

would anyone be generous enough to name the 18 people on the calendar.. I need it for a school assignment.


The comments to this entry are closed.

Our Books