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