When I entered the field of economics as an Austrian economist looking to obtain a faculty position (1988), it was obvious that for that community of economists books carried more weight than journal articles. Reputations were based on original books --- just as Human Action, Man, Economy and State, Competition and Entrepreneurship, Capital and Its Structure, etc. The generation of Austrian economists that emerged in the 1970s and were making their mark in the 1980s followed the same community scholarly norm with such works as Economics as a Coordination Problem, Rivalry and Central Planning, Free Banking in Britain, The Economics of Time and Ignorance, and A Theory of Free Banking. Dissertations written by my cohort at NYU (Prices and Knowledge or Perfect Competition and the Transformation of Economics), at Auburn (The Economics of Prohibition), and at GMU (Welfare Economics and Externalities in an Open-ended Universe; Monetary Evolution, Free Banking and Economic Order; Marxism and Workers' Self-Management; The Cultural Foundations of Economic Development, etc.) all followed that same pattern.
Personally, I published 2 single authored books and edited 3 books (and was working on a 4th 3 volume work) as an assistant professor at NYU. I also published during that time 50 plus articles and reviews in professional journals, and was the founding editor of Advances in Austrian Economics. But it was the books that I cared most about. Since moving to GMU in 1998, I have been more focused on articles rather than books (over 100 articles, chapters, and reviews). I have continued to publish books and edit books, and to edit a journal, The Review of Austrian Economics, but my primary focus has been teaching PhD students how to write journal articles in the outlets of our profession. It is all about journal articles and placement of those journal articles in the peer reviewed outlets of our profession that are SSCI ranked. It is about writing works that get downloaded on SSRN, get picked up in RePC, get cited in SSCI ranked journals, etc. This is the way your build a career as an economist, it is the way to a better job, and the opportunity to work with better students.
But I still get more excitement out of reading books than I do articles. When I read dissertations of my former students that have been translated into books, I get more excited than when I read their original articles upon which the book is based. Why would that be? This is true even for my colleagues and peers within the profession. The articles tend to be a utilitarian use, their books however possess a more lasting value to me. I can only assume this is because of the way I was intellectual brought up.
Economics is a journal writing culture, but those of us within the Austrian tradition are a book writing and reading culture. Besides other issues of a methodological, analytical, and ideological bent, this cultural divide also creates potential communication problems with our scientific peers.
Do you think this is shifting with changing mechanisms of the transmission of ideas or not?