The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper reviews the "Austrian" theory of the business cycle first proposed by Friedrich Hayek in the 1920s. His theory claimed that credit creation by monetary authorities would push investment beyond society's long-term willingness to save, creating a mismatch between supply and demand that would inevitably cause recession. The theory argued, moreover, that expansionary policies in recession could generally only postpone the necessary structural adjustment, making the subsequent correction more severe. Modern followers of this theory see Austrian features in a number of recent business cycles, including Japan in the 1980s and 1990s, and the more recent U.S. slowdown.