The Economic Consequences of the War with Iraq (study of the cost of the war in Iraq in late 2002) 

     Armed with strong resolutions from the U.S. Congress and the UN Security Council the United States is marching toward war with Iraq....

    But what of the costs? Even asking such a question may be thought a sign of insufficient resolve at best and appeasement at worst. However, while cost estimates are often ignored when war is debated, most people recognize that the costs in dollars, and especially in blood, are acceptable only as long as they are low. If the casualty estimates mount to the thousands, if oil prices skyrocket, if a war pushes the economy into recession or requires a large tax increase, and if the United States becomes a pariah in the world because of callous attacks on civilian populations, then decisionmakers in the White House and the Congress might not post so expeditiously to battle. Given the salience of cost, it is surprising that there have been no systematic public analyses of the economics of a military conflict in Iraq. This essay attempts to fill the gap....  


A short and non-technical version of this study was published in the New York Review of Books, December 5, 2002, and can be downloaded from that site, click here .

The full study, published by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is available in electronic form from  the Academy web site, click here . It is also available in a pdf version (500 KB), click here .

Note to readers: the estimates provided in the American Academy version are the latest estimates, while those from the NYRB are slightly different and were revised.

For the summary table on costs, click here .

Note added in October 2003:

The studies prepared in late 2002 have not been updated. I plan to prepare a review of the costs at the end of 2003.