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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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Suggested Citation

  • Philip I. Levy, 1999. "Sanctions on South Africa: What Did They Do?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 415-420, May.
  • 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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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.89.2.415
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. M. Lipton, 1989. "The Challenge of Sanctions," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 57(4), pages 227-240, December.
    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 786-793, September.
    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, July.
    4. 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, January.
    5. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Jeffrey J. Schott & Kimberly Ann Elliott, 2009. "Economic Sanctions Reconsidered, 3rd Edition (paper)," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 4129.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lorenzo Rotunno & Pierre-Louis Vézina, 2017. "Israel’s open-secret trade," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 153(2), pages 233-248, May.
    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. Axel Dreher & Matthew Gould & Matthew Rablen & James Vreeland, 2014. "The determinants of election to the United Nations Security Council," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(1), pages 51-83, January.
    4. repec:khe:scajes:v:3:y:2017:i:3:p:87-91 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Andrew Phiri, 2017. "Long-run equilibrium adjustment between inflation and stock market returns in South Africa: a nonlinear perspective," International Journal of Sustainable Economy, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 9(1), pages 19-33.
    6. Torfinn Harding & Jørn Rattsø, 2005. "The barrier model of productivity growth: South Africa," Discussion Papers 425, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    7. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations

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