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« Unorthodox Individuals I have Learned From (inspired by Matthew's comments) | Main | Does Development Economics Attract the Least Developed Economists? »


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Don't limit Kirzner to entrepreneurship. I think he and Hayek and others have significantly influenced IO via the notion of competition as a discovery/rivalrous process. Austrian work on competition and antitrust has mattered.

Also, I'm surprised you left Lavoie off the list. I'd put him 2 or 3 as his work really did change the conversation in mainstream discussions of comparative economics, not to mention broader political economy.

The question was "living" --- I snuck Hayek in there only because I think we are still trying to come to grips with what he has to offer.

But you are right Lavoie had a huge impact between 1985 and 1990. He was able to impact the conversation in comparative significantly. And his opening of the conversation among younger Austrians to pursue research in anarcho-capitalism from perspectives other than natural rights. Lavoie also opened up the discourse to a wider audience in sociology, democratic theory and philosophy of science.

Yes, Steve, Lavoie was a huge that is why I listed his untimely death so high on my list of turning points in the fate of the modern Austrian school.

P.S.: People have made negative comments about comparing CVs claiming it is unproductive. But actually it is not unproductive if kept in prospective. No more unproductive than looking at the balance sheets of a firm! We are not doing figure skating here (where the scoring is to some extent subjective) but instead running a track meet (you either come in first or you don't). In that analogy, if a runner complains that the race is unfair when in fact to all objective observers the race seems to be run under the same rules and on the same track, then the truly unproductive activity is the "whining" about the result. Simply shut up and run faster. That is my advice to younger Austrians ... run faster. Play this game better than your competition.

Are you sure that Selgin published in the? I kind of stopped following his publication record, but before 2000 and something, he certainly didn't publish in anything better than Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, JEL, HOPE,etc.?

Sorry, messed up the post.I meant in the AER.


White published in the AER, Selgin's best publication is probably in the Economic Journal. Also publishing in JMCB is the not bad, let alone having the survey article on the field in the JEL.

I listed Selgin and White as a "team" for a reason, but I do think Selgin's work on the "productivity norm" stands alone as raising some significant issues among mainstream monetary theorists.

I would argue that among the current practicing Austrians, White and Selgin have been more successful than anyone in addressing the mainstream.


Pete Boettke is too humble to list himself on this list, but he should be on it. While hasn't done much work in Soviet studies in recent times, he has been considered as one of the leading Sovietologists in the world by many prominent scholars in the field. He has published widely in the field of transition economics and development. While his papers have not been accepted in the AER or the JPE yet, he is regularly invited to LSE and other places along with the top economists of the discipline (e.g. Andrei Shleifer) to present his work. Shleifer actually said that his book on the Perestroika was the best books on the subject (and Shleifer is of Russian origin). Mainstream historians have recognized his work as important (especially his excellent paper "Where did economics go wrong?"). The scope of his publications is unparalleled in the Austrian world: history of thought, epistemology, sovietology, transition, development, etc. (see here: http://economics.gmu.edu/pboettke/pubs.html ) I believe his work on development and transition will be known and remembered by many outside the Austrian world.


I agree. Pete's work on perestroika is up there with the best books on transition and his contribution to the field of transitional economics is excellent. And I speak as a non-Austrian (but someone with Austrian leanings).


Thank you for that. But I actually consider myself a person who has had great opportunities who failed to take advantage of them. So in a certain sense I look at my career and I see failure rather than success, but failure that I want to correct. Recognition of failure to me is the first step toward improvement. The great basketball coach John Wooden always told him players "Failure is never fatal, but failure to change may be."

It is my sincere hope and belief that my students (who are realy colleagues fairly soon in the process in my mind) will succeed where I have failed. I often point to Pete and Chris because when they were given opportunities like I had, they tend to never miss to take advantage of them. I hope that learning from my misteps has given them an advantage. As you know, I thought your idea of the "market theory problem" was a major advance in economic thought. Clark Durant has some major ideas dealing with the "economic" versus "catallactic" interpretation of the discipline from the beginning. In both your instance and Clark, you followed more my path than the Chris and Pete path. Rather than grabbing an idea and running wtih it to the end, we tend to jump to another idea before we see the first one to its end.

It is a style of work, not necessarily a substance of work issue. But when one has high quality substance, and a style of work that keeps to one's knitting (the consistent application of the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair), then opportunities are made the most of and not squandered.

Austrian economics is not in its current situation professionally due to ideological bias --- there are plenty of free market economists at the top of our profession --- but due to a methodological bias combined with a failure on the part of the Austrian economists to work at the pace, style, and maintain substance. There is an adverse selection problem with Austrian economics (as there is with any "out of sync" school of economics), but there is also missed opportunities that if the ball bounced this way, instead of that way, we would be on top of the economic world.

We should learn from our failures and work to do better with our thinking, our writing, and our teaching. Again as John Wooden put it, "You haven't taught until they have learned." Or as James Buchanan taught his students "It takes varied reiterations to force alien concepts upon reluctant minds."

From thought to first draft, from first draft to second, from second draft through N, we just need to write better articles and books. Pete Leeson's publishing success has given a model, Chris Coyne's book success has given a model. If the next generation follows their lead, the number of missed opportunities will fall drastically. Remember my analogy, this isn't figure skating, this is a track meet. Look at the times posted, look at the events invited to compete in, look at the medals won. This isn't subjective judgment (though it is subjective interpretation of the result admiittedly). Those guys are succeeding where we have previously failed.

Wow. That is important and useful advice, Pete, but your books are of as high a quality as Coyne's though very different; and you have been very good about offering "varied reiterations to force alien concepts upon reluctant minds."

Don't sell yourself short.

I don't know what missed opportunities you speak of, but I agree with the others here that you have made some very important contributions, and furthermore that you have acted as a glue between the Sovietologist, the transition economist and the Austrian and mainstream economists; which is critically important.

As a side note: In looking for a school where I could pursue what I saw to be the the critical most important issue in economics - learning the lessons from socialism and incorporating into economic theory the dynamic relationships discovered from those lessons - there was only one professor in America (since Don Lavoie passed) that fit that bill. When I saw that you taught at GMU, it was a no-brainer. I had already come across your books and papers and been influenced by your contributions directly and through their citation, and was thrilled that I could learn from you and work with you.

Although I'm grateful to Peter for the compliment he offers me in placing me so high in his ranking, it seems to me that, if the past is any guide, then the kind of influence that really matters is almost always posthumous, so that pondering who among _living_ Austrian economists has been most influential may not be all that worthwhile an exercise after all.

Neither does past experience lend much support to the procedure of equating the quality (and, by implication, staying power) of economists' writings with the rankings of journals in which those writings appear. I should think that the JLE's reputation, for example, owes more to Coase having published in it than the other way 'round; and no one imagines that Hayek might have enhanced his eventual influence by devoting more effort to getting into the JPE and less to writing "pop" stuff like _The Road to Serfdom_.

Indeed, the very language of "best publications" seems obnoxious to me, conflating as it does the notions of "best work" and "work appearing in the best (that is, most prestigious) outlets." To employ it is to be guilty of what Leland Yeager contemptuously refers to as "second-handism." Though one expects such second-handism from college administrators these days, scholars ought to be inclined to judge the work of their peers according to nothing other than that work's intrinsic merits.

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