What Distinguishes Austrian Economics?

What is Austria economics? Christopher J. Coyne and Peter J. Boettke offer a brisk and readable 57-page introduction in The Essential Austrian Economics (2020, Fraser Institute). It is the most recent entry in an "Essential Scholars" series that now includes similar books--that is, intro-level discussions by well-qualified academic experts--on F.A. Hayek, Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, John Locke, Joseph Schumpeter, and Robert Nozick. 

As a starting point, who have been the leading thinkers in Austrian economics over time? Coyne and Boettke write: 

The origin of the Austrian School of economics is the publication of Carl Menger’s Principles of Economics in 1871. ... He also was engaging the German Historical School, which was the dominant source of economic thinking throughout the German-speaking world. The German Historical School held that economic science is incapable of producing universal principles that apply across time and geographic space. Because of this, they held that the best that economists can do is to engage in the historical study of particular circumstances, with the hope of identifying some particular patterns that are specific to the context being studied. 

In contrast to this view, Menger argued that universal economic laws apply across contexts, and he did so using marginal utility analysis as a foundation. Those in the German Historical School took issue with the claims by Menger and his colleagues—Eugen Böhm-Bawerk and Friedrich Wieser—about the possibility of universal theory and labeled them the “Austrian School” because of their academic positions at the University of Vienna. The label stuck. ...

Subsequent generations of Austrian scholars built on the works of Menger, Böhm-Bawerk, and Wieser. Following World War I, Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek assumed the intellectual leadership of the Austrian School. ... Since the 1930s, no economists from any Austrian university have become leading figures in the Austrian School of economics. Following the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Hayek in 1974, there was a revival of interest in the ideas of the Austrian School. The major figures in this revival were Israel Kirzner, Murray Rothbard, and Ludwig Lachmann.

What are the key elements of Austrian economics that distinguish it from other schools of economics? One theme emphasized in the discussion is "the concept of `methodological individualism,' which holds that people, with their unique purposes and plans, are the beginning of all economics analysis. ... Menger stressed that the evaluations of the desired ends, as well as the determination of the best means to achieve those ends, are uniquely subjective to the individual chooser." 

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