The Cost of a Revolution

Mohammad R. Jahan-Parvar


In this study, I have attempted to quantify the economic opportunity benefits/costs of the 1979 Iranian revolution and the subsequent policies and actions of the Islamic Republic for the average Iranian citizen. This question has often been raised in various contexts, but has not received a rigorous treatment yet. I have addressed this issue by focusing the study on the difference between the actual performance of the Iranian economy in 1979-2010 period against a set of scenario-generated counterfactual outcomes, to obtain a measure of economic opportunity cost. Some of these scenarios are based on the economic performance of the Iran in the pre-revolution years, and some are constructed from the performance of Iran’s neighbors in the period ending in 2010. The goal of this study is to start a dialog, not to provide the definitive answer to this often asked question.