Peter J. Boettke/Christopher J. Coyne: The Oxford Handbook of Austrian Economics

The Austrian School of Economics is an intellectual tradition in economics and political economy dating back to Carl Menger in the late-19th century. Menger stressed the subjective nature of value in the individual decision calculus. This school of economic thinking spread outside of Austria to the rest of Europe and the United States in the early-20th century and continued to develop and gain followers, establishing itself as a major stream of heterodox economics.
The Oxford Handbook of Austrian Economics provides an overview of this school and its theories.

Viktor J. Vanberg: Schumpeter and Mises as “Austrian Economists”

Joseph A. Schumpeter and Ludwig von Mises were both Austrian-born economists, both were students of Böhm-Bawerk and von Wieser, yet whether they both may be classified as ‘Austrian economists’ is a controversial issue. This paper takes a closer look at the mixture of commonalities and disagreements in their writings that have given rise to the ambivalent assessments of their ‘Austrian’ credentials.

Gerhard Wegner: Capitalist transformation without political participation

The paper analyzes the political economy of capitalist transformation in nineteenth century Germany. The emergence of capitalism after 1806 gives an example that economic freedom can precede political freedom, leaving the political power of the “dominant coalition” intact. The paper argues that the German capitalist transformation was instigated by competition among the European states. Primarily it was conducive to the monopolization of the coercive power of the state. As a result competition among the states drove a wedge between the interests of the monarch and his supporting dominant coalition (landed gentry). The increasingly independent public administration in Prussia which was influenced by Adam Smith’s liberal ideas organized a political bargain which established economic freedom in various sectors but took the economic interests of the landed gentry into account. In various aspects the sweeping institutional change was Pareto-superior for groups, which made capitalism also acceptable for the elite group.

Joachim Zweynert: The concept of Ordnungspolitik through the lens of the theory of limited and open access orders

The paper argues that there are certain parallels between the ideas of ordoliberalism and the framework of limited and open access order (LAO/OAO) as developed by North, Wallis, Webb and Weingast (NWWW): Both approaches focus on the “interdependence of orders”, and both share an emphasis on state capacity in processes of social transition. I also argue that the ideas of the ordoliberals might give impulses for the further development of the LAO/OAO research agenda. Firstly, whereas NWWW mainly deal with the transition process from LAO to OAO, the members of the Freiburg school intensely dealt with the danger that an OAO might revert into an LAO. Accordingly, they spent much effort on developing policy proposals that aimed at preventing such a ‘re-feudalisation’ (Franz Böhm) of society. Secondly, especially when it came to the issue of accomplishing reforms, they also considered the role of informal institutions and beliefs, a topic somewhat neglected in the LAO/OAO-framework in its present form.

Wolfgang Kerber: Soft Paternalism and Consumer Policy

Although the concept of soft paternalism succeeded in drawing attention to the importance of behavioral economics and the effects of “soft” policy instruments as default rules for influencing behavior, it is argued in this article that soft paternalism can make only a very limited new contribution to consumer policy. “Soft” policy (governance) instruments and behavioral economics insights can be used without soft paternalism. However, due to its normative vagueness, the concept of soft paternalism cannot offer anything new to the normative justification of paternalism in the case of trade offs with individual liberty, and under what circumstances “soft” policy instruments should be favored compared to hard ones. Therefore a serious normative discussion about paternalism is still missing.