Hayek and Macroeconomics

There’s a brewing debate in the economics blogosphere about whether Hayek was a macroeconomist. Was he or wasn’t he? Did his contributions matter?

For the uninitiated, macroeconomics is large-scale in focus. It looks at the big-picture economy. GDP, recessions, depressions, that kind of thing. Contrast that with microeconomics, which studies how individuals and individual firms behave. I like how Russ Roberts closes his contribution to the debate:

Was Hayek an important macroeconomist? I would argue that the macroeconomic skepticism of the later Hayek is more valuable than the macroeconomic theorizing of the early Hayek. But he wasn’t an important macroeconomist in the mainstream sense of the title. So what? That’s a badge of honor. He was merely a great economist, without any prefix. He helps me see things I wouldn’t otherwise see. That’s all that really counts.


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