Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics
European Business Fluctuations in the Austrian Framework
The Austrian theory mainly deals with analyzing the effects of an increased credit offer on productive structures. In this respect, we propose to link long-term growth cycles to various short-term interest rate gaps. Are European Business Cycles affected when a fall in the money market rate disrupts agents' expectations of inflation? Using the hypothesis that individual speculation is motivated by the difference between short-term real interest rates and their natural levels, we argue that Wicksellian interest rate gaps can account for a high proportion of long-term fluctuations in four European countries (Germany, France, Italy, and Spain). We present specific dating methods and filters used in order to distinguish between short-term and long-term growth cycles. The Wicksellian incentives we constructed are then significantly linked to long-term business fluctuations. Under the hypothesis of adaptive expectations of inflation, our results are enhanced.