The Review of Austrian Economics, 15:1, 35–59, 2002.
2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Manufactured in The Netherlands.
Paths of the Weberian–Austrian Interconnection
MILAN ZAFIROVSKI milanzaﬁr@yahoo.com
Department of Sociology, University of North Texas, Denton, TX 76203, USA
Abstract. This paper centers on the theoretical–methodological interconnections between Weber and the Austrian
economists. First, the inﬂuence of classical Austrian economics, especially Menger and B¨ohm-Bawerk, on Weber
is reexamined. Then we are concerned with the importance of Weber’s ideas in neoclassical Austrian economics,
including Schumpeter, Mises and Hayek. Also, Weber’s legacy in modern economics is reconsidered. Since little
research is done on these interconnections between Weber’s sociology and Austrian economics, the paper thereby
contributes toward spanning a gap in the present economic and sociological literature.
JEL classiﬁcation: B30, B31.
The Weber–Austrian connection (Boettke 1998) is relatively unexplored in the current
literature in economics and sociology despite a certain number of studies. In particular,
studies explicitly analyzing the relations of Weber to Austrian economics are rare, with
some exceptions (Boettke 1998, Lachmann 1971, 1992). More frequent are those studies
that deal with these issues in more indirect ways, namely via analyzing the relations of
Schutz and the Austrians (Pietrykowski 1996, Prendergast 1986, Wagner 1983; see also on
these pages Augier 1999), or as parts of more general analyses of Weber’s work in relation
to neoclassical economics and classical sociology (Holton and Turner 1989, Parsons 1947,
Of all these studies concerned directly or indirectly with the Weber–Austrian connec-
tion, those concentrated on Schumpeter and Weber are most frequent (cf., Swedberg 1991).
In retrospect, the focus on the connection between Weber and Schumpeter is not surpris-
ing given not only their personal relations, but also their interactions as social scientists,
especially the inﬂuence of Weber on the young Schumpeter. Notably, Schumpeter was
considerably inﬂuenced by Max Weber’s attempts at creating a ‘new and broad type of
trans-disciplinary economics” (Swedberg 1991:2) as an alternative to theoretical and his-
torical economics, and thus as a resolution to their methodological dispute (Methodenstreit).
Schumpeter reportedly borrowed (Swedberg 1991:93) the notions of social economics and
economic sociology from Weber. More particularly, Schumpeter’s concept of the sociology
of enterprise was an application of Weber’s economic sociology, with the Schumpeterian
constructed type of the entrepreneur being a special case of Weberian ideal types. No wonder
Schumpeter has been characterized as Weber’s greatest successor in the role of an economic
sociologist (Hughes 1977).
However, what is less known is the general connection, in theoretical and methodological
terms, between Weber and Austrian economics as a whole. In the ensuing we focus on this
Weberian–Austrian connection, and treat that between Weber and Schumpeter as one of its