Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated to cost $3 trillion

From Ryan Edwards in an NBER working paper (hat tip: Brian Doherty in Reason)...

In the abstract, Edwards notes that "the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are in their eighth and tenth years, having accrued nearly a trillion dollars in direct military costs." From there...

I review the history of cost forecasts for these ongoing engagements, highlighting the differences across them in scope and accuracy, assessing the methods and practice of cost forecasting, and exploring the implications of the war costs themselves. Besides the unanticipated length and breadth of the military conflicts themselves, a related and equally important component of costs is the life cycle of costs associated with caring for veterans....

Doherty provides more detail, noting that the cost of a war follows an inverted-U-shaped pattern-- with costs that peak well after a war ends.


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