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The Economic Costs of the Iraq War: An Appraisal Three Years After the Beginning of the Conflict

  • Linda Bilmes


  • Joseph E. Stiglitz


Many aspects of the Iraq venture have turned out differently from what was purported before the war: there were no weapons of mass destruction, no clear link between Al Qaeda and Iraq, no imminent danger that would warrant a pre-emptive war. Whether Americans were greeted as liberators or not, there is evidence that that they are now viewed as occupiers. Stability has not been established. Clearly, the benefits of the War have been markedly different from those claimed. So too for the costs. This paper, in two parts first provides an estimate of the 'direct' expenditures, and provide adjustments to reflect the true social costs of the resources deployed. The second provides an estimate of the macro-economic costs; the effects of the War on the overall performance of the economy, taking into account both the effects of the expenditures themselves and of the increased price of oil, some of which at least should be attributed to the War. Americans could, and should have asked, are there ways of spending that money that would have enhanced our long run well being—and perhaps even our security—more.

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Paper provided by eSocialSciences in its series Working Papers with number id:387.

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Date of creation: Feb 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:387
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  1. Thomas J. Kniesner & W. Kip Viscusi & Christopher Woock & James P. Ziliak, 2005. "How Unobservable Productivity Biases the Value of a Statistical Life," NBER Working Papers 11659, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jiménez-Rodríguez, Rebeca & Sánchez, Marcelo, 2004. "Oil price shocks and real GDP growth: empirical evidence for some OECD countries," Working Paper Series 0362, European Central Bank.
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