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Targeting autocrats: Economic sanctions and regime change

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  • Oechslin, Manuel

Abstract

When it comes to international economic sanctions, the most frequent goal is regime change and democratization. Yet, past experiences suggest that such sanctions are often ineffective; moreover, quite paradoxically, targeted regimes tend to respond with policies that amplify the sanctions' harmful effects. This paper offers a political-economy model which provides an explanation for these observations. An autocratic regime lowers the supply of public goods to reduce private-sector productivity and hence the resources of potential challengers. As a result, sanctions-induced challenges become less likely, thereby buying the regime time to find exile opportunities. If these opportunities turn out to be of low quality, the regime prefers to hold out — and the sanctions fail.

Suggested Citation

  • Oechslin, Manuel, 2014. "Targeting autocrats: Economic sanctions and regime change," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 24-40.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:36:y:2014:i:c:p:24-40
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2014.07.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Farshid Pourshahabi & Nazar Dahmardeh, 2015. "Economic Sanctions, Speculative Attacks and Currency Crisis," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 5(2), pages 340-355, February.
    2. Gutmann, Jerg & Neuenkirch, Matthias & Neumeier, Florian, 2016. "Precision-Guided or Blunt? The Effects of US Economic Sanctions on Human Rights," ILE Working Paper Series 2, University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics.
    3. Kirill Chmel & Alexander Demin & Kirill Kazantcev, 2017. "Dictators’ Behavior Under Conditions of Economic Sanctions Cumulative Effect," HSE Working papers WP BRP 50/PS/2017, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    4. Neuenkirch, Matthias & Neumeier, Florian, 2016. "The impact of US sanctions on poverty," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 110-119.
    5. Neuenkirch, Matthias & Neumeier, Florian, 2015. "The impact of UN and US economic sanctions on GDP growth," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PA), pages 110-125.
    6. Rodriguez Acosta, Mauricio, 2016. "Essays in political economy and resource economic : A macroeconomic approach," Other publications TiSEM 1e39ef1b-43a2-4f95-892c-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic sanctions; Regime change; Democratization; Public goods; Exile;

    JEL classification:

    • F51 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Conflicts; Negotiations; Sanctions
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations

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