Steve Horwitz defends Austrian economics against the charge that they pull it all out their hats and don’t do fieldwork.
Until recent times there was not a lot of fieldwork by Austrians because prior to the 1980s there were virtually no Austrians and the handful of living Austrian scholars (practically all in the US) were focussed on keeping the tradition alive. That has changed dramatically in the last decade or so as the graduates from the handful of Austrian programs start to make a mark in their fields.
The housing boom and subsequent financial crisis, recession, and weak recovery, as well as Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy, have put the Austrian school of economics in the public spotlight, particularly among the intellectual class in the media and on the Internet. This increased attention has also meant increased criticism. One frequent charge is that Austrian economics is radically anti-empirical and cares little about putting its theories up against the reality of the world.
This criticism often focuses on Austrians’ use of “praxeology” as their term for economics. Some Austrians do indeed talk about the “a priori” nature of praxeology and how the theories it produces, such as the Austrian business cycle theory, cannot be “tested” by empirical data, which they contrast with the “apodictic certainty” of certain of their own conclusions. Such claims can be found in the work of the 20th century Austrians, such as Ludwig von Mises and, particularly, Murray Rothbard. (It is worth noting that this way of talking about Austrian theory is mostly absent in the work of F. A. Hayek.)
It has to be said that Ludwig von Mises did as much harm as good when he wrote about epistemology and methodology, but you don’t need to be distracted by that, just read his economic analysis.
Austrian courses (may not be complete, but you get the idea)
Hillsdale College in Michigan where there is also the Mises library.
Grove City College, near Pittsburgh, where Hans Sennholz was chairman of the department for many years.
Northwood University with campuses in Michigan, Florida and Texas.
Santa Clara in California and California State University at Heyward.
The Uni of Missouri at St Lois and also at Columbia
New York University, the original base of von Mises, more recently the home of Israel Kirzner, Mario Rizzo and David Harper.
George Mason University in N Virginia list the Public Choice, Mercatus etc including the Institute for Humane Studies and other related organizations.
Troy University, Michigan, in the Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration.
Other Institutional Bases
The von Mises Institute, Auburn, Alabama; The Cato Institute; FEE (Free Enterprise Institute), The Liberty Fund, the Lower Neutral Bay Faction of the Australian School of Economics.