Debates about the Iraq conflict have focused on political, military, moral and legal arguments to the neglect of economic aspects. But wars are costly and the Iraq conflict is no exception.
The relevance of economics
Conflict and the subsequent peacekeeping require scarce resources which could be used for alternatives such as education and health. But military costs are only one component of the total costs of conflict. Typically, there are sizeable hidden costs which cannot be ignored. Historically, conflict was the preserve of political scientists, but increasingly, defence economists are applying their economic tools to the analysis of conflict (Sandler and Hartley, 2003).
The economics of conflict