Friday, March 27, 2009

Freedom Fries

Did French opposition to the Iraq War hurt the French economy? This paper argues that it did, significantly.

6 comments:

Justin said...

With all due respect, Art, this is bullshit, un vieux canard.

First, I have a golden rule, which works again here: an article, op-ed or study which mispells Condi Rice's first name cannot be trusted. Here, not only it is spelled "Condoleeza" instead of "Condoleezza", but it gives the wrong date for "Punish France, ignore Germany and forgive Russia": March 2003, ie before or during the war, which makes no sense. So these two mistakes don't exactly give you confidence in the quality of the study.

But less anecdotally, look at the graphs pages 30-35: they don't tell the same story as the text.

Just two examples, the first graph page 30: "Change in Log US Imports". Imports from France fall between 2001 and 2002, ie when relations are good, and they increase between 2002 and 2003, when "relations worsen", and at an accelerating rate afterwards. And this is very close to OECD, which seems to simply be ahead of the French curve (see 2000-2001 for example).

Second example, page 31: if I read it correctly, imports from the US decrease from 2002 to 2003, and then increase. Once again, it's later than other OECD, but then you would have to explain why France was doing better from 1999-2001...

I don't have time to go into the details of other graphs, but I see three fundamental problems which made the study look unreliable to me when I saw it in 2007:
a) their definition of "relations worsen" (not before February 2003, contrary to their indication: 2002 to 2003), so a chronology / timeline problem,
b) not enough about the structure of French - US exchanges, which I suspect explains much better the changes.
c) what about growth difference between France and other OECD?

As Fischer would say, "I'm not convinced"

Arthur Goldhammer said...

I am, by you.

Tom Holzman said...

I suspect that, if true, the French might look on it as badge of honor or a sacrifice well worth it.

MYOS said...

Doesn't seem very solid to me.
First of all, I'd have picked the 2003-2004 period rather than 2002-2003 to test the hypothesis.
Overall, thought, Justin said it all.
Did this paper receive wide coverage/approval? Is it likely to pop up in Intl Business courses?

Claudine said...

Well, I suppose I did my bit by deciding in March 2003 to boycott all US products until the last USer leaves Iraq. And am not the only one.

eric said...

isn't "blogger" a US product?