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Sanctions on South Africa: What Did They Do

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  • Philip I. Levy
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    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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    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp796.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 796.

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    Length: 13 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 1999
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:796

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    Keywords: Keywords: Sanctions; South Africa; Political Economy; Trade;

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    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. Torfinn Harding & Jørn Rattsø, 2005. "The Barrier Model of Productivity Growth: South Africa," Working Paper Series 4805, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.

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