I have the lead essay at the September Cato Unbound, which is on the "theory and practice of Austrian economics." My essay is "The Empirics of Austrian Economics" and I argue that Austrians are not mere "armchair theorists" and that Austrian methodology, including praxeology, is no barrier to doing good empirical research. In fact, given our broader understanding of the kinds of evidence that counts as "empirical," we might well do better empirical research than our mainstream counterparts. The core of the argument:
But it is not the case, as Josh Barro recently argued, “that Austrian economists reject empirical analysis, and instead believe that you can reach conclusions about correct economic policies from a priori principles.” To say so is to misinterpret what Mises meant by the word praxeology and therefore fail to understand what he recommended as the appropriate methods for economists. It is also to rely on interpretations of what people like Mises and Rothbard had to say, as well as the pronouncements of various advocates of Austrian economics on blogs and Internet forums, rather than engaging with the professional research being published in the peer-reviewed journals by practicing Austrians. That research offers a very different picture of the way in which Austrian economics engages the real world. Finally, as that research demonstrates, modern Austrians distinguish among “empirical evidence,” “quantitative data,” and “statistical correlation” in such a way that allows all of them, though less so the third, to play a role in their work. Rather than being anti-empirical, modern Austrian economists are trying to open up the box of what counts as “empirical evidence” to include forms normally dismissed out of hand by the rest of the profession. Arguably, then, modern Austrians might well be more empirical than other economists, at least as judged by their professional work.
Commenters will include Bryan Caplan, George Selgin, and Antony Davies. This should be interesting.