Empirical Evidence on the Austrian Business Cycle Theory

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The Austrian business cycle theory suggests that a monetary shock disturbs relative prices, such as the term structure of interest rates, systematically altering profit rates across economic sectors. Resource use responds to those changes, generating a cyclical pattern of real income. The divergence of the interest rate structure, from the previous and unchanged time preferences, means that the expansion is unsustainable and must end in recession. Quarterly data for eight U.S. business cycles, 1950:1 through 1991:1 are standardized by time period and used to explore business cycle facts and relations between money, interest rates, capacity utilization and income. Results are consistent with the hypotheses of the Austrian theory of a business cycle caused by a monetary shock and propagated by relative price changes.