Envisioning a Peaceful Israel, Scientifically (The New Yorker)

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new yorkerIn a story in The New Yorker, Professor Bernard Avishai, a visiting professor of government, writes about a method for determining the cost of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Israel’s economy.

“The problem is that it is difficult to determine the opportunity cost of the conflict,” Avishai writes. “How well might the Israeli economy have done if the conflict hadn’t taken place?”

Avishai’s colleague, Yusaku Horiuchi, imagines a “synthetic Israel”—a composite of countries similar to Israel in various respects, but without the conflict with the Palestinians—which can be tracked alongside the real Israel. Horiuchi, the inaugural Mitsui Chair in the Study of Japan and an associate professor of government, with the help of Asher Mayerson ’15, analyzed data from both Israeli and “synthetic Israeli,” Avishai writes.

“Cumulatively,” he writes, “from 2001 to 2010, Israel’s per capita G.D.P. was $25,513 less than that of synthetic Israel’s.

“What is $25,513 per capita in the grand scheme of things? A great deal. For an Israeli family of four, even after income taxes, it might have meant a down payment on an apartment, a college education for a child, or a couple of new cars.”

Read the full story, published 11/5/13 by The New Yorker.