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Cheap talk? Financial sanctions and non-financial firms

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  • Besedeš, Tibor
  • Goldbach, Stefan
  • Nitsch, Volker

Abstract

Sanctions restrict cross-border interactions and therefore, not only put political and economic pressure on the target country, but also adversely affect the sender country. This paper examines the effect of financial sanctions on the country imposing them. We analyze the business responses of German non-financial entities to the imposition of sanctions on 23 countries over the period from 1999 through 2014. Examining highly disaggregated, monthly data from the German balance of payments statistics, we find four main results. First, German financial activities with sanctioned countries are reduced after the imposition of sanctions. Second, firms doing business with sanctioned countries tend to be disproportionately large, often having alternative business opportunities. Third, firms affected by sanctions expand their activities with non-sanctioned countries, some of which display close trade ties to the sanctioned country. Fourth, we find no effect of sanctions on broader measures of firm performance such as employment or total sales. Overall, we conclude that the economic costs of financial sanctions to the sender country are limited.

Suggested Citation

  • Besedeš, Tibor & Goldbach, Stefan & Nitsch, Volker, 2021. "Cheap talk? Financial sanctions and non-financial firms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:134:y:2021:i:c:s0014292121000416
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2021.103688
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Forbes, Kristin J. & Warnock, Francis E., 2012. "Capital flow waves: Surges, stops, flight, and retrenchment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 235-251.
    2. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    3. Tibor Besedeš & Stefan Goldbach & Volker Nitsch, 2017. "You’re banned! The effect of sanctions on German cross-border financial flows," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 32(90), pages 263-318.
    4. Matthieu Crozet & Julian Hinz, 2020. "Friendly fire: the trade impact of the Russia sanctions and counter-sanctions," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 35(101), pages 97-146.
    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, September.
    6. Crozet, Matthieu & Hinz, Julian & Stammann, Amrei & Wanner, Joschka, 2021. "Worth the pain? Firms’ exporting behaviour to countries under sanctions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
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    Cited by:

    1. Goldbach, Stefan & Nitsch, Volker, 2021. "Covid-19 and capital flows: He responses of investors to the responses of governments," Discussion Papers 17/2021, Deutsche Bundesbank.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sanction; Restriction; Cross-border transaction;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F20 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - General
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • F38 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Financial Policy: Financial Transactions Tax; Capital Controls
    • F51 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Conflicts; Negotiations; Sanctions

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