NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Howard J. Shatz

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Working Papers

July 2007French Wine and the U.S. Boycott of 2003: Does Politics Really Affect Commerce?
with Orley Ashenfelter, Stephen Ciccarella: w13258
In early 2003, France actively tried to thwart the plans of the Bush administration to build international support for a war to depose Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein. In response, calls in the United States for a boycott of French products, wine in particular, rebounded through all forms of media. In the spring of 2003, French business people even reported that the boycott calls were hurting their U.S. sales. Using a dataset of sales of nearly 4,700 individual wine brands, we show that there actually was no boycott effect. Rather, sales of French wine dipped for two reasons. First, they experience a cyclical peak at holiday time, from November through early January, and the boycott was called during the February to May period. Second, sales of French wine have been in a secular decline in the ...

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