The Review of Austrian Economics

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 243–268 | Cite as

Austrian economics behind the iron curtain: The rebirth of an intellectual tradition

  • Anthony J. EvansEmail author


This article documents the spread of the Austrian school of economics in central and eastern Europe following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Extensive research based on interviews, fieldwork and archival analysis records the development of distinct epistemic communities throughout the region and the subsequent networks that have emerged to unite them. In doing so, we provide a rare history of ‘centre-right’ political ideas in eastern Europe, a chronology of the development and influence of libertarianism, cursory intellectual biographies of neglected Austrian economists and empirical evidence that contributes to the epistemic communities approach to the study of idea diffusion. The findings support the view that the policy reforms during the transition process were built on neoclassical orthodoxy rather than ‘neoliberalism’ or ‘market fundamentalism’ but point to a fast-growing epistemic community that has had increasingly significant policy influence.


Austrian economics Transition Epistemic community Eastern Europe History of ideas 

JEL Codes

B14 B53 P51 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ESCP Europe Business SchoolLondonUK

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