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11/18/2007

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Rick Chaney, Ph.D.

"Michael Greenstone of MIT had the excellent idea of using financial data to provide financial information on what global investors think about the viability of this government" is not accurate.

A review of Professor Greenstone´s paper will show that the "excellent idea" came directly from an earlier piece written by a graduate student in economics at U.C. Berkeley, Eric Chaney (see http://ericjustin.chaney.googlepages.com/iraqpaper2.pdf.). The first version of this paper dates from November, 2006, and was presented at the NBER conference in July, 2007.

owinok

This is an informative post for the reason that it recognizes the real value of information markets but urges caution regarding the interpretation of that information. There's the tendency to overstate the utility of information markets and this would be a dispassionate reading to advise that the results may not be amenable to accurate interpretation at a given moment.

Anonymous

Professors Becker and Posner,

what do you think about banning private possession of handguns?

Most of the countries have these kind of laws.
And probably as a consequence they have less students killed by them. Economically it seems that the USA as a whole would benefit from banning handguns.

Thanks

DGG

I like the paper, I like the idea, I like the post. It's just kind of funny that the paper gets so much attention from academics. The idea is really old. It's just an application of the event study methodology first used, 20 years ago? Not that innovative.

BD

The time series of Greenstone's calculated default risk on Iraq's bonds doesn't show a sudden uptick immediately after the beginning of the "surge," but rather a rapid increase starting at about 4 months later. What were the important news developments in that period of time? Casual observation suggests that much more news was being made by Congressional calls for a timetable for withdrawal of US troops than was being made by actual reports from Iraq.

The great potential weakness of any event study is ambiguity about the actual information content of the alleged event. In this case, it seems impossible to disentangle the expected strategic impact of the "surge" as a purely military action from its expected effect through the channel of US politics. What would any bond-market participant think about the prospects for medium- and long-term US military involvement in Iraq after observing Gen. Petraeus's congressional hearings?

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