Monday, June 29, 2009

The New Tyler Cowen-Alex Tabarrok Economics Textbook

I just received a review copy of the new Cowen, Tabarrok economics text, i.e., the macro edition, Modern Principles: Macroeconomics.

I haven't read the entire book, yet. However, I note: Part 3 is about "Business Fluctuations". There are four separate chapters in this section. I did not notice even one mention of Austrian Business Cycle theory, Hayek or Mises. There is no index in the review copy, so it's possible I missed a reference but very, very unlikely. Cowen and Tabarrok have dropped ABCT, Hayek and Mises into a memory hole.

According to Cowen and Tabarrok, it seems the Great Depression had nothing to do with the money printing of the 1920's, but simply developed out of the blue in 1929 as a result of an unexplained "great fall in aggregate demand". They don't mention the slowdown in money growth in early 1929 at all. (There is a mention of the 1931 Fed money contraction).

The text appears Keynesian to the core. Cowen, who was once considered by some the next Hayek, should know better


  1. My principles of macro professor really liked their extensive chapter on the Solow Growth Model. The principles book w/ Mankiw barely covers Solow.

  2. The Solow "growth" model which pretty much ignores entrepreneurship, no matter how it is explained, is pretty much nothing but masturbation in the internet age versus the Playboy magazine age. It still ain't the real thing.

    Read Kirzner if you want to understand how the economy advances--it doesn't grow like a tree.

  3. The omission is all the more unfortunate knowing that Alex Tabarrok is familiar with Mises' work. For proof go to page 341 of Money, Method, and the Market Process ( Tabarrok helped prepare the index for this collection of Mises' essays.

  4. Wenzel,

    Cheers on ridiculing Solow and his "Growth Model," yet another pseudo-scientific attempt to introduce calculus-as-explains-all into economics by the neo-Keynesians.

    Truly pathetic, anti-intellectual and anti-common sense stuff.

    Tyler Cowen is an absolute disgrace, with an ego to match. He's a tyrant in the classroom and on the campus and he's become such a larger than life personality (in his own mind) amongst the economics profession, he probably figured he WAS the next Hayek and that's why he could leave ABCT out.

    The guy is shooting for a big government advisory gig and he doesn't want to leave a messy academic record behind, like Greenspan. Just give him a presidential cycle to get himself ready for it...

  5. It's not described as "Austrian" but check out Chapter 13 which contains many Austrian-like ideas such as labor and capital complementarity and the importance of micro-allocation issues to business cycles.

  6. Chapter 13, Austrian?

    Chapter 13 has about as much to do with Austrian Business Cycle Theory as does a New York York Knicks City Dancers tryout.