Consumer Boycotts: The Impact of the Iraq War on French Wine Sales in the U.S.

By Larry ChavisPhillip Leslie
January2006| Working Paper No. 3125

The French Opposition to the war in Iraq in early 2003, prompted calls for a boycott of French wine in the US. We measure the magnitude of consumers’ participation in the boycott, and look at basic evidence of who participates. Conservative estimates indicate that the boycott resulted in 26% lower weekly sales at its peak, and 13% lower sales over the six month period that we estimate the boycott lasted for. These findings suggest that business should be concerned that their actions may provoke a boycott which hurts their profits. We also find that neither political preferences or media attention are important determinants of boycott participation.