# Marginalist Hall of Fame: Austrian School

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Marginalist Hall of Fame: Austrian School
Carl Menger, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, Friedrich von Wieser,

The Marginalist Revolution: The Austrian School
Friedrich von Wieser, On the Origin and Principle Laws of Economic Value, 1884 Marginal utility: Jevon’s “final degree of utility”  Grenznutzen  MU Austrian cost theory/Pricing factor services Cost = Utility of 1st order goods foregone…opportunity cost concept Utility + Technology Values of goods in equilibrium Essentially demand and supply, but awkwardly avoided Joint determination of outputs and shadow prices, obscured by causal analysis Anticipation of linear programming

Aside on Linear Programming
Leonid Kantorovich, Soviet “Economist”, Nobel Prize, 1975 Tjalling Koopmans, Yale Economist, Nobel Prize, 1975 George Danzig, Stanford Mathematician, No Prize A linear programming problem: Optimize subject to constraints Max 4 x1 + 5 x2 + 9 x x4 s.t. 1 x1 + 1 x2 + 1 x x4 = 15 Laborer-Days 7 x1 + 5 x2 + 3 x x4 = 120 Machine Hours 3 x1 + 5 x2 +10x x4 = 100 Lbs of Raw Material Note: fixed coefficient technology…factor substitution not possible Solution: Optimal program how much x1, x2, x3 and x4 to produce shadow prices of resources  activities used in the solution operate at zero net profit  activities not in solution would operate at a loss.

The Marginalist Revolution: The Austrian School
Friedrich von Wieser, On the Origin and Principle Laws of Economic Value, 1884 Marginal utility: Jevon’s “final degree of utility”  Grenznutzen  MU Austrian cost theory/Pricing factor services Cost = Forgone utility…imputed opportunity cost Utility + Technology Values of goods in equilibrium Essentially demand and supply, but awkwardly avoided Joint determination of outputs and shadow prices, obscured by causal analysis Anticipation of linear programming B-B “loss principle”: price of commodity lost if factor withdrawn Austrian methodology: Step-by-step human action, not equilibrium of supply and demand Market as information processor  price signals  learning von Mises – Lange debate: could economic planning work? Lange won on logic: efficient market capitalism provides socialist planner with initial set of prices; he just has to tweak them and tell managers to optimize von-Mises won in fact … central planning didn’t work

Principles of Economics, 1890 (1st edition), 1920 (8th edition)
Student and teacher at Cambridge Majored in math Married Mary Paley, an economist Teacher of teachers: Pigou, Keynes …cool heads but warm hearts Insecure in his writings: held back publication Principles of Economics, 1890 (1st edition), 1920 (8th edition) Neoclassical economics: marginalist – mathematical framework Written for intelligent layman: graphs in footnotes; math in appendices Account for the concrete: biological, not mechanical/mathematical, analogies From Keynes’ eulogy: [An economist] must be a mathematician, historian, statesman, philosopher – in some degree. He must understand symbols and speak in words. Keynes on Jevons – Marshall priority: [Jevon’s final utility] lives merely in the tenuous world of bright ideas … Jevons saw the kettle boil and cried out with the delighted voice of a child; Marshall too had seen the kettle boil and sat down silently to build an engine. Alfred Marshall, Did Marshall crib from Austrians? B-B and Wieser were at school when I thought these things out. Marshall

Marshall’s Principles of Economics: Themes and Contents
Economics…a study of mankind in the ordinary business of life ...pecuniary focus Partial equilibrium analysis … representative agents and firms Recognition of Walras’ general equilibrium framework…in Appendix Focus on specific markets…constant MU of money…a “preliminary” analysis Supply (costs) interact with demand (utilities) Ceteris paribus  conservative tilt: “Nature does not leap” Marshall Partial analysis is less elegant than general equilibrium …but better for application Supply and demand curves (the Marshallian cross) Value determined by both blades of the scissors Consumer and producer surplus Reciprocal demand curves in trade (recall Mill) Elasticity of demand Price decline  increase in real income for elastic demand Anticipates income and substitution effect analysis value quantity

Marshall’s Principles of Economics: Themes and Contents
Temporary, short-run and long-run supply – fixed and variable costs Elasticity of supply increases with time as factors adjust Value in short-run depends on demand Value in long-run depends on supply Quasi-rents: return of fixed capital (machines) In short-period: a rent determined by demand, as in classical econ. not a cost-of-production In long-period: a measure of capital’s contribution to production related to interest rate Internal economies of scale  difficulties for competitive market paradigm External economies (of industry scale): costs to all firms decline as industry expands

Economics of Welfare, 1920 … Reform, not Revolution
Arthur Cecil Pigou Economics of Welfare, 1920 … Reform, not Revolution Economies and diseconomies of production Divergence between private and social costs and benefits  Role for government Make railroads liable for damage sparks do to forests Subsidize smokeless smokestacks Fine polluters Adherent to Say’s Law “Classical” foil for Keynes in General Theory Pigou response: Pigou effect = “Real Wealth” Effect P down  (M/P) up  Automatic adjustment to full employment (?!?) Elaborated on externalities

Classical – Neoclassical Economics: An Aside
Marshallian economics Gossen/Jevons/Edgeworth Microeconomics Concern: allocation of scarce resources First Principles: Decision at margin Prices determined by interaction of supply (costs) and demand (utilities) Distribution accords with marginal productivities Classical Economics Smith – Ricardo/Malthus – Mill Labor theory of value Malthusian population Say’s law Quantity theory of money Physiocrats – Marx Balanced growth/imbalance Concern: consequences of capitalist accumulation First Principles: Price independent of demand Natural (long-run) prices equalize rates of profit Real wage = “subsistence” Wage fund – Iron Law

Contributions to price theory
Consumption indifference curves/“utils” + Production possibilities frontier Market equilibrium: MRT = dy/dx = px / py = MUx / MUy = MRS Contributions to monetary economics Ideal index numbers: geometric mean of Paasche and Laspeyres Fisher effect: Nominal interest rate = Real rate + expected inflation (e) Quantity Theory of Money: MV + M’V’ = PT Velocity and Transactions independent of Money If M up, P up, ceteris paribus expectations lag  sticky nominal interest rate (stickier than Price) gm up  π up  Real rate down  Investment spend up  EXPANSION Intertemporal optimization, given interest rate (see diagram) Rags – Riches – Rags (not quite) Top Yale graduate (math) and Professor Married rich  Europe tour – networking/New Haven house Illness  Health fetish (corn flakes!) Inventor (card index system) – merged into Remington Rand  \$\$\$\$ Merged into Sperry (UNIVAC) merged into Unisys Stock market speculation  Crash  \$ Crusader: stable money, League of Nations, calendar reform, spelling reform, Esperanto, environmental protection, prohibition Prohibition at its Worst  trick wets into reading it Leading US economist/Public advocate/Government advisor First President of Econometric Society, 1930 Irving Fisher 1867 – 1947

Fisher’s Debt Deflation Theory of Depression
Easy money  over-indebtedness/speculation/boom – bubble Bubble bursts  Debt liquidation  distressed sale of assets Contraction of bank balance sheets  M down M down  P down P down  Profits down  Business net worth down Liquidation does not liquidate but rather aggravates debt “The more debtors pay the more they owe.” Output down / Employment down / Income down Depression Hoarding / reduced velocity of money / P down Vicious spiral of deflation

Established marginal productivity theory of distribution
Competition Linear homogeneous (Cobb-Douglas) production function Proposed Pareto optimal log-rolling before Pareto Fiscal packages where everyone gains Level the playing field: inheritance tax! public education!! Market socialism!!! Interest and Prices,1898,1924: Cumulative process in full-employment economy using bank money … Say’s Law holds  real GDP steady Lecturer/Professional student – first job as economist at age 48 Career at University of Lund Social radical serving conservative (neoclassical) science Champion of birth control (neo-Malthus), women’s rights, free love Military nihilist (Sweden can’t defend self  disband army…Russify) Jailed for sacrilege Knut Wicksell 1851 – 1926

Wicksell: Pioneer of Aggregate Demand and Supply
A general rise in prices is only conceivable (if) the general demand has for some reason become, or is expected to become, greater than the supply…Any theory of money worthy of the name must be able to show how and why monetary or pecuniary demand for goods exceeds or falls short of the supply of goods in given conditions. MV = “efficiency of money” (Karl Helfferich’s term) In a pure credit system, MV is perfectly elastic, subject to the bank rate The effective supply of money accommodates the demand for money…unless the bank rate set by the central bank imposes monetary discipline.

Wicksell’s Monetary Economics
Interest and Prices,1898,1924: Cumulative process in full-employment economy using bank money  real GDP steady i = market rate of interest set by banks…credit and Ms adjust to Md at market rate i r = “normal” rate of interest—keeps P steady = “natural rate” = return on capital r = f(fundamentals, expectations) I/Y = Investment/Real GDP = F(i – r) demand for credit (remember, Y is fixed) \$Y = \$C + \$I = PY Steady-state equilibrium (\$I = 0): \$Y = \$C = \$Yt-1 Disequilibrium (r rises; i steady): \$Y = \$C + \$I = \$Yt-1+ \$I  \$I = Δ\$Y = ΔPY = \$S  Investment is financed out of forced saving owing to inflation (real C down) \$I = PI = ΔPY  ΔP/P = I/Y = F(i – r) In summary, if i<r, firms demand credit to finance investment …banks create money to meet demand for credit Prices and wages rise (wages not as much as prices) Profit expectations rise  r remains > i  Demand for Credit Up Monetary equilibrium requires i = r Equilibrium reached when Credit system is linked to convertible metal … demand for credit pushes i up Or … Central Bank management of i … goodbye laissez-faire

Wicksell’s interest rate rule for monetary equilibrium: Precursor of inflation targeting
So long as prices remain unaltered the (central) bank’s rate of interest is to remain unaltered. If prices rise, the rate of interest is to be raised; and if prices fall, the rate of interest is to be lowered; and the rate interest is henceforth to be maintained at its new level until a further movement of prices calls for a further change in one direction or another. Wicksell, Interest and Prices, p. 189 quoted in Michael Woodford, Interest and Prices: Foundations of a Theory of Monetary Policy, p. 38

Monetary Theory David Hume – specie flow, prices, and trade balance
Of Money (1742) Long-run neutrality: M  P But there’s an economic expansion story before the long-run is reached… …since the discovery of the mines in America, industry has increased in all the nations of Europe, except in the possessors of those mines…In every kingdom into which money begins to flow, every thing takes on a new face: labor and industry gain life; the merchant becomes more enterprising…and even the farmer follows his plow with greater alacrity…Though the price of commodities be a necessary consequence of the increase of gold and silver, yet it follows not immediately… At first no alteration [in prices] is perceived; by degrees the price rises, first of one commodity, then of another…When any quantity of money is imported into a nation, it is …confined to the coffers of a few persons who immediately employ it to advantage…They are thereby enabled to employ more workmen than formerly…who can now eat and drink better. [The workman] carries his money to market where he finds everything at the same price as formerly but returns with a greater quantity…The farmer and gardener, finding that all their commodities are taken off, apply themselves with alacrity to raising more… We may conclude, that it is of no consequence whether money be in greater or less quantity… Good policy consists only in keeping it, if possible, still increasing.

Monetary Theory David Hume – specie flow, prices, and trade balance
David Ricardo – The High Price of Corn : {Thornton, Senior} Alfred Marshall – Cambridge oral tradition: M = k PY Professor Irving Fisher has been the first, in several instances, to publish in book form ideas analogous to those which had been worked out by Marshall at much earlier dates. J.M. Keynes, Alfred Marshall, 1842 – 1924, p. 336 fn. Ludwig von Mises –cash balance approach linked with marginal utility Irving Fisher – Quantity Theory and Real Interest Rate Knut Wicksell – Natural rate of interest/cumulative process Gustav Cassel – Quantity Theory  Purchasing Power Parity “Money doctors” Gunnar Myrdal – Monetary Equilibrium: Ex ante – ex post John Maynard Keynes Tract on Monetary Reform (1924) Cambridge k Treatise on Money (1930) The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936) Liquidity preference and real balances The General Theory of Employment, QJE, 1937. People find it convenient to hold some fraction of their income in the form of money …varies with distribution of income.

Foil for Keynes in General Theory
The Stockholm School Gustav Cassel 1866 – 1945 Purchasing Power Parity General equilibrium … extension of Walras A writer less generous than Cassel would be hard to find. Marx at least paid tribute to Quesnay and Ricardo. Cassel paid tribute to nobody. Walras had written the first system of simultaneous equations of general equilibrium. Pareto had purged it of any measure of sensations. Cassel followed both but mentioned neither… Eli Heckscher 1879 – 1952 Economic historian at University of Stockholm “Classical” theory of interest: rate that equates saving & investment Foil for Keynes in General Theory Ohlin-Hecksher Trade Theory (Factor Endowments) Teacher of Myrdal, Ohlin

The Stockholm School, 1927 – 1937 Extending Wicksell’s Cumulative Process
Eric Lindahl, 1891 – 1960 General equilibrium theory Myrdal, Monetary Equilibrium, 1933 Ex ante intentions drive macro-performance. Ex post results are basis for next period’s intentions. S = I ex post, but not necessarily ex ante. Dag Hammarskjöld 1905 – 1961 UN Secretary General Gunnar Myrdal 1898 – 1987 Bertil Ohlin 1899 – 1979 Unlike Wicksell, Myrdal and Ohlin recognized market imperfections  inflexible factor prices Iex ante ≠ S  Output changes while prices hold steady  Anticipation of Keynes Autonomous changes in consumption Extension of Wicksell model.

The Stockholm School Beyond Macrodynamics
Dag Hammarskjold – Secretary General of UN Gunnar Myrdal … extensions of cumulative process Cumulative causation – vicious circles An American Dilemma, 1944  Brown v. Board of Education Rich Lands and Poor, 1957 Asian Drama, 1968 Wife, Nobel Laureate Alva Myrdal Director of UNESCO Swedish Ambassador to India Bertil Ohlin Transfer problem (1929): income adjustment Keynesian analysis vs. pre – General Theory Keynes Head of opposition social – liberal People’s Party

Sweden’s Commission on Unemployment
1924: Return to gold standard at overvalued rate 1927: Recession … formation of Commission Ohlin (1934) Monetary Policy, Public Works, Subsidies and Tariffs as Means for Reducing Unemployment Focus on Aggregate Demand, not wage reduction to get out of depression Deficit finance of Public Works + Easy Money for Investment + Price Supports for Farmers Spending Multiplier and Investment Accelerator Myrdal (1934) The Effects of Fiscal Policy Countercyclical policies … balance budget over cycle Build infrastructure in depression … not US “leaf-raking” Easy money in recession … tight money in expansion 1936: Swedish depression ended

Vicious Spirals of Note
Fisher – Minsky: Debt Deflation Spiral Foreclosure “Death Spiral” Wicksell: Loan rate < Real rate  hyperinflation J.H. Williams: Depreciation – Inflation Spiral Myrdal: Discrimination – Poverty Spiral Debtor “Death Spiral” Budget “Death Spiral” Insurance “Death Spiral”