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Sanctions on South Africa: What Did They Do?

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  • Philip I. Levy

Abstract

This paper considers the economic sanctions that were applied in the mid-1980s to pressure the South African government to end apartheid. It asks what role those sanctions played in the eventual demise of the apartheid regime and concludes that the role was probably very small. An alternative explanation for the regime change is offered: the communist bloc combined to bring about the change. If one is to argue for the efficacy of sanctions, two key obstacles are their limited economic impact and the substantial lag between the imposition of sanctions and the political change. Since sanctions preceded the change of government, it is impossible to rule them out as a determinant. However, their principal effect was probably psychological. The implication is that the South African case should not serve as the lone major instance of effective sanctions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 89 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 415-420

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:89:y:1999:i:2:p:415-420

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.89.2.415
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  1. Anton D. Lowenberg, 1997. "Why South Africa'S Apartheid Economy Failed," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(3), pages 62-72, 07.
  2. Kaemfer, William H & Lowenberg, Anton D, 1988. "The Theory of International Economic Sanctions: A Public Choice Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 786-93, September.
  3. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Jeffrey J. Schott & Kimberly Ann Elliott, 1990. "Economic Sanctions Reconsidered: 2nd Edition," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 82.
  4. M. Lipton, 1989. "The Challenge of Sanctions," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 57(4), pages 227-240, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Axel Dreher & Matthew Gould & Matthew D. Rablen & James Raymond Vreeland, 2012. "The Determinants of Election to the United Nations Security Council," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 12-09, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  2. Coulibaly, Brahima, 2009. "Effects of financial autarky and integration: The case of the South Africa embargo," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 454-478, April.
  3. Torfinn Harding & Jørn Rattsø, 2005. "The barrier model of productivity growth: South Africa," Discussion Papers 425, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  4. Yongzheng Yang, 2000. "Food Embargoes against China: Their Likelihood and Potential Consequences," Asia Pacific Economic Papers 304, Australia-Japan Research Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.

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