American Economic Review: Vol. 103 No. 3 (May 2013)


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An Analysis of Economic Warfare

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Clemens, Jeffrey. 2013. "An Analysis of Economic Warfare." American Economic Review, 103(3): 523-27.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.523


I develop a framework for assessing economic warfare, which describes efforts to undermine adversaries' sources of income. The ability to target adversarial market participants is a primary determinant of the success of such efforts, as is the elasticity of demand in the relevant market. An application of the framework to US efforts to suppress the Afghan opium trade yields pessimistic results. Inelastic demand and poorly targeted enforcement have led these efforts to increase the drug trade resources flowing toward the Taliban.

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Clemens, Jeffrey (U CA, San Diego)

JEL Classifications

D74: Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances
F51: International Conflicts; Negotiations; Sanctions
O13: Economic Development: Agriculture; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Other Primary Products
O17: Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
Q18: Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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