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The Economic Consequences of a War with Iraq

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Abstract

Much has been written about the national-security aspects of a potential conflict in Iraq, but there are no studies of the cost. A review of several past wars indicates that nations historically have consistently underestimated the cost of military conflicts. This study reviews the potential costs of a conflict including the postwar expenses that might be required for occupation, humanitarian assistance, reconstruction, nation-building, along with the implications for oil markets and macroeconomic activity. It considers two potential scenarios that span the potential outcomes, ranging from a short and relatively conflict-free case to protracted conflict with difficult and expensive postwar reconstruction and occupation. The estimates of the cost to the United States over the decade following hostilities range from $100 billion to $1.9 trillion.

Suggested Citation

  • William D. Nordhaus, 2002. "The Economic Consequences of a War with Iraq," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1387, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1387
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    File URL: http://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d13/d1387.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Rose Adam Z. & Blomberg S. Brock, 2010. "Total Economic Consequences of Terrorist Attacks: Insights from 9/11," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 1-14, June.
    2. Tilman Bruck, 2005. "An Economic Analysis Of Security Policies," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(5), pages 375-389.
    3. Wisniewski, Tomasz Piotr, 2016. "Is there a link between politics and stock returns? A literature survey," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 15-23.
    4. Ben-Gad, M. & Ben-Haim, Y. & Peled, D., 2008. "Allocating Security Expenditures under Knightian Uncertainty: an Info-Gap Approach," Working Papers 08/05, Department of Economics, City University London.
    5. Jordi Pons-i-Novell & Ramon Tremosa-i-Balcells, 2005. "Macroeconomic effects of Catalan fiscal deficit with the Spanish state (2002-2010)," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(13), pages 1455-1463.
    6. Edwards, Ryan D., 2014. "U.S. war costs: Two parts temporary, one part permanent," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 54-66.
    7. Olaf J. de Groot & Tilman Brück & Carlos Bozzoli, 2009. "How Many Bucks in a Bang: On the Estimation of the Economic Costs of Conflict," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 948, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    8. Steven J. Davis & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 2006. "War in Iraq versus Containment," NBER Working Papers 12092, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Rigobon, Roberto & Sack, Brian, 2005. "The effects of war risk on US financial markets," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 1769-1789, July.
    10. repec:eee:eneeco:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:494-510 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Luís Aguiar-Conraria & Yi Wen, 2007. "Understanding the Large Negative Impact of Oil Shocks," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(4), pages 925-944, June.
    12. Luís Francisco Aguiar-Conraria & Yi Wen, 2005. "Understanding the Impact of Oil Shocks," NIPE Working Papers 2/2005, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    13. Amihud, Yakov & Wohl, Avi, 2004. "Political news and stock prices: The case of Saddam Hussein contracts," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 1185-1200, May.
    14. Elena Corallo, 2007. "The effect of the war risk: a comparison of the consequences of the two Iraq wars," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 54(3), pages 371-382, September.
    15. Ben-Gad, M. & Ben-Haim, Y. & Peled, D., 2015. "Allocating Security Expenditures under Knightian Uncertainty: an Info-Gap Approach," Working Papers 15/09, Department of Economics, City University London.
    16. Benedetto, Graziella & Rugani, Benedetto & Vázquez-Rowe, Ian, 2014. "Rebound effects due to economic choices when assessing the environmental sustainability of wine," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(P1), pages 167-173.
    17. Gerlach, Jeffrey R. & Yook, Youngsuk, 2016. "Political conflict and foreign portfolio investment: Evidence from North Korean attacks," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 178-196.
    18. Olaf J. de Groot, 2012. "Analyzing the costs of military engagement," Economics of Peace and Security Journal, EPS Publishing, vol. 7(2), pages 41-49, July.
    19. Benner, Joachim & Borbély, Dóra & Gern, Klaus-Jürgen & Kamps, Christophe & Kamps, Annette & Sander, Birgit & Scheide, Joachim, 2003. "Durchgreifende Erholung der Weltkonjunktur nochmals verzögert," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 2983, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    20. Huntington, Hillard G., 2004. "Shares, gaps and the economy's response to oil disruptions," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 415-424, May.
    21. Bove Vincenzo & Elia Leandro, 2014. "The impact of American and British involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq on health spending, military spending and economic growth," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 14(1), pages 1-15, January.
    22. Lacomba, Juan A. & Lagos, Francisco & Reuben, Ernesto & van Winden, Frans, 2014. "On the escalation and de-escalation of conflict," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 40-57.
    23. Tilman Brück & Olaf J de Groot & Friedrich Schneider, 2011. "The economic costs of the German participation in the Afghanistan war," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 48(6), pages 793-805, November.
    24. Bodea, Cristina & Elbadawi, Ibrahim A., 2008. "Political violence and economic growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4692, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Oil; Defense spending; War; Iraq;

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy

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