The Review of Austrian Economics

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 321–331 | Cite as

Qualitative methods and the pursuit of economic understanding

  • Emily Chamlee-WrightEmail author


In this paper, I describe the qualitative methods deployed in a series of investigations examining post-disaster recovery following Hurricane Katrina. I argue that qualitative methods, particularly ethnographic field interviews, are essential tools in contexts that the interpretive frameworks (mental models) of the research subjects play a dominant role in shaping broader patterns of social coordination. Given the importance, Austrian economists attribute to non-deterministic learning as the source of endogenous change and discovery in contexts of genuine uncertainty; I argue that this underutilized set of tools ought to be considered particularly valuable.


Austrian economics Qualitative methods Hurricane Katrina Post-disaster recovery 

JEL codes

B41 B53 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsBeloit CollegeBeloitUSA
  2. 2.The Mercatus Center at George Mason UniversityArlingtonUSA

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