DEFINITION of ‘Austrian School’
An economic school of thought that originated in Vienna during the late 19th century with the works of Carl Menger. The Austrian school is set apart by its belief that the workings of the broad economy are the sum of smaller individual decisions and actions, unlike the Chicago school and other theories that look to surmise the future from historical abstracts, often using broad statistical aggregates.
Also known as the “Vienna school” and the “psychological school”.
BREAKING DOWN ‘Austrian School’
The Austrian school holds a special view of the modern business cycle; it contends that boom cycles are actually a misallocation of capital resources caused by interfering monetary policy. When central banks effectively expand the money supply by lowering interest rates, it creates an multiplying effect in the economy. This leads business owners to incorrectly assess the amount of available capital and the level of demand by consumers. Eventually, overinvestment by corporations leads to a “bust” cycle in which prior misallocations must be worked out.
What is ‘Keynesian Economics’
An economic theory of total spending in the economy and its effects on output and inflation. Keynesian economics was developed by the British economist John Maynard Keynes during the 1930s in an attempt to understand the Great Depression. Keynes advocated increased government expenditures and lower taxes to stimulate demand and pull the global economy out of the Depression. Subsequently, the term “Keynesian economics” was used to refer to the concept that optimal economic performance could be achieved – and economic slumps prevented – by influencing aggregate demand through activist stabilization and economic intervention policies by the government. Keynesian economics is considered to be a “demand-side” theory that focuses on changes in the economy over the short run.
BREAKING DOWN ‘Keynesian Economics’
Prior to Keynesian economics, classical economic thinking held that cyclical swings in employment and economic output would be modest and self-adjusting. According to this classical theory, if aggregate demand in the economy fell, the resulting weakness in production and jobs would precipitate a decline in prices and wages. A lower level of inflation and wages would induce employers to make capital investments and employ more people, stimulating employment and restoring economic growth.
The depth and severity of the Great Depression, however, severely tested this hypothesis. Keynes maintained in his seminal book, “General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money,” and other works, that structural rigidities and certain characteristics of market economies would exacerbate economic weakness and cause aggregate demand to plunge further.
For example, Keynesian economics refutes the notion held by some economists that lower wages can restore full employment, by arguing that employers will not add employees to produce goods that cannot be sold because demand is weak. Similarly, poor business conditions may cause companies to reduce capital investment, rather than take advantage of lower prices to invest in new plant and equipment; this would also have the effect of reducing overall expenditures and employment.
Short explanation reference from: http://www.investopedia.com/
To learn more about the Austrian School of economics refer to Mises Institute