IMAGE:  April 2003
 
LINK:  Research
Investigations  
Citations  
Next Generation  
Original Source  
Fig.2  
 
LINK:  Features
Revolution from Within  
Classified Knowledge  
Lake Effect  
Just Cause  

Tournament of Roses

 

LINK:  Class Notes
Alumni News  
Alumni Works  
C.Vitae  
Deaths  

LINK:  Campus News
Chicago Journal  
University News  
Uchicago.edu e-bulletin  

LINK:  Also in every issue
Editor's Notes  
Letters  
From the President  
Chicagophile  
 
GRAPHIC:  University of Chicago Magazine
 
 
JUNE 2003
Volume 95, Issue 5
 

GRAPHIC:  ResearchFig.2

War: the frugal option?

Three Chicago economists pared down the argument for war in Iraq versus further containment to—what else?—dollars. On March 20, the day after the United States began its air campaign, GSB professors Steven J. Davis, Kevin M. Murphy, and Robert H. Topel released a paper arguing that the cost of containing Saddam Hussein, at $630 billion, “dwarfs” their war estimate of $125 billion.

One reason for the cost difference: time. Based on similar scenarios in North Korea and the Soviet Union as well as Saddam’s survival through the Iran–Iraq and Persian Gulf wars plus 12 years of sanctions, the economists guesstimated that he or his sons would rule for another 33 years. That calculated to a 3 percent chance every year that the regime would “morph from malign to benign.” If Saddam achieved a 9/11-like terrorist attack, add another $50 billion. The economists lowballed $10 billion a year for extra homeland security and assumed post-9/11 security concerns and redoubled efforts to enforce sanctions would increase costs by 50 percent.

The economists’ war costs comprised two years. Davis, Murphy, and Topel argued that long-term nation building or occupation costs would be outweighed by the Iraqis’ increased living standards and fewer Saddam-inflicted deaths.

—A.B.


Graphic by Allen Carroll

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Google
Search WWW Search magazine.uchicago.edu

Contact Advertising About the Magazine Alumni UChicago Views Archives
uchicago 2003 The University of Chicago Magazine 5801 South Ellis Ave., Chicago, IL 60637
phone: 773/702-2163 fax: 773/702-0495 uchicago-magazine@uchicago.edu