Skip to main content
Log in

On Austrian Economics and the Economics of Carl Menger

  • Published:
Atlantic Economic Journal Aims and scope Submit manuscript


This paper gives an overview of the work of Carl Menger, the founding father of the Austrian School of Economics. Menger’s theoretical and methodological positions are compared and contrasted with those of contemporary Austrian Economics. The idea of the unintended consequences of individual purposive actions is seen as a key to Menger’s economics. Although many elements of contemporary Austrian Economics can be found already in the work of Menger, we argue that there are some differences with respect to economic theorizing and economic policy recommendations. We propose to bring Austrian Economics closer to mainstream economics, especially with respect to the analytical tools to be used.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Carl Menger and Austrian Economics. (1978). Atlantic Economic Journal, Vol. 6, Issue 3. Edwardsville, IL: Atlantic Economic Society.

  • Austrian Economics Today.(2014). Atlantic Economic Journal, Vol. 42, Issue 2. New York: Springer.

  • Acemoglu, D., & Robinson, J. A. (2006). Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Alter, M. (1990). Carl Menger and the Origins of Austrian Economics. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aydinonat, N. E. (2008). The Invisible Hand in Economics. London: Routledge.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Blaug, M. (Ed.). (1992). Carl Menger (1840–1921). Aldershot: Edward Elgar.

    Google Scholar 

  • Boettke, P. (Ed.). (1994). The Elgar Companion to Austrian Economics. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

    Google Scholar 

  • Boudon, R. (1982). The Unintended Consequences of Social Action, London: Macmillan. French original 1977.

  • Gossen, H. H.(1854). Entwickelung der Gesetze des menschlichen Verkehrs, und der daraus fließenden Regeln für menschliches Handeln. Braunschweig: Friedrich Vieweg. Translated as The Laws of Human Relations and the Rules of Human Action Derived Therefrom by R. C. Blitz. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1983.

  • Greif, A. (2006). Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Hicks, J. R., & Weber, W. (Eds.). (1973). Carl Menger and the Austrian School of Economics. Oxford: Clarendon.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hurwicz, L. (1973). The Design of Mechanisms for Resource Allocation. American Economic Review, 63(2), 1–30.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hurwicz, L. (2008). But Who Will Guard the Guardians? American Economic Review, 98, 577–588.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jaffé, W. (1976). Menger, Jevons and Walras De-Homogenized. Economic Inquiry, 14, 511–524.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Klausinger, H. (2006). “In the Wilderness”: Emigration and the Decline of the Austrian School. History of Political Economy, 38, 617–664.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Klausinger, H. (2014). Academic Anti-Semitism and the Austrian School: Vienna, 1918–1945. Atlantic Economic Journal, 42, 191–204.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Leijonhufvud, A. (1968). On Keynesian Economics and the Economics of Keynes: A Study in Monetary Theory. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Littlechild, S. (Ed.). (1990). Austrian Economics, 3 vols. Aldershot: Edward Elgar.

    Google Scholar 

  • Menger, C.(1871). Grundsätze der Volkswirthschaftslehre, Vol. 1. Vienna: Wilhelm Braumüller. Translated as Principles of Economics by J. Dingwall and B. F. Hoselitz, Glencoe. IL: Free Press, 1950.

  • Menger, C. (1883). Untersuchungen über die Methode der Socialwissenschaften, und der Politischen Oekonomie insbesondere. Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot. Translated as Problems of Economics and Sociology by F. J. Nock. Urbana. IL: University of Illinois Press, 1963.

  • Menger, C. (1884). Die Irrthümer des Historismus in der deutschen Nationalökonomie. Vienna: A. Hölder.

    Google Scholar 

  • Menger, C. (1891). Die Social-Theorien der classischen National-Oekonomie und die moderne Wirtschaftspolitik. Neue Freie Presse, 9470 & 9472 (January 6 & 8, 1891). Reprinted in: F. A. Hayek (Ed.). Carl Menger Gesammelte Werke, 2nd ed., vol. III, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 1970, 219–245.

  • Menger, K. (1892). On the Origin of Money. Economic Journal, 2, 239–255. (Translation of a contribution by C. Menger to Handwörterbuch der Staatswissenschaften, vol. III, Jena: G. Fischer, 1892).

  • Menger, C. (1923). Grundsätze der Volkswirtschaftslehre (2nd ed.). Vienna: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky.

    Google Scholar 

  • Merton, R. K. (1936). The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action. American Sociological Review, 1, 894–904.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • von Mises, L. (1949). Human Action. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • von Mises, L. (1960). Epistemological Problems of Economics. Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand.

    Google Scholar 

  • von Mises, L. (1962). The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science. Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand.

    Google Scholar 

  • Norton, R. (2008). Unintended Consequences. In D. R. Henderson (Ed.), The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics (pp. 505–506). Liberty Fund: Indianapolis, IN.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ostrom, E. (1990). Governing the Commons. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Rothbard, M. (1962). Man, Economy, and State. Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schmoller, G. (1883). Zur Methodologie der Staats- und Sozialwissenschaften. Jahrbuch für Gesetzgebung, Verwaltung und Volkswirthschaft im Deutschen Reich, 7, 975–994.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schotter, A. (1981). The Economic Theory of Social Institutions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Schumpeter, J. A. (1954). History of Economic Analysis. London: Allen & Unwin.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith, A. (1776/1976). An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, edited by E. Cannan, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press 1976; original 1776.

  • Streissler, E. W., & Streissler, M. (Eds.). (1994). Carl Menger’s Lectures to Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vaughn, K. I. (1994). Austrian Economics in America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Woods, T. E. (2009). Meltdown. Washington, DC: Regnery Publ.

    Google Scholar 

  • Young, H. P. (1998). Individual Strategy and Social Structure. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Reinhard Neck.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Neck, R. On Austrian Economics and the Economics of Carl Menger. Atl Econ J 42, 217–227 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


JEL Categories