In both theoretical and applied contexts, neoclassical economics typically assumes that residual economic relationships are mean-zero, finite-variance, normally distributed random variables. However, many have challenged this view, from various perspectives. The Austrian economists, specifically in the tradition of Mises and Rothbard, reject outright the effort to mathematically model human choices. This Austrian view is often derided as unscientific. However, some of the most mathematically sophisticated work in financial economics also rejects the orthodox bell curve. In this paper, we test Benoit Mandelbrot’s “stable Paretian” hypothesis on ten major macroeconomic data sets and reject the normal distribution in nine of them. We further argue that the stable Paretian hypothesis (and, more generally, the field of “chaos theory”) is far more compatible with the Austrian position than one might initially suspect.
The Review of Austrian Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 26, 2008
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