IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this book chapter

The Political Economy of Economic Sanctions

Listed author(s):
  • Kaempfer, William H.
  • Lowenberg, Anton D.

International economic sanctions have become increasingly important as alternatives to military conflict since the end of the Cold War. This chapter surveys various approaches to the study of economic sanctions in both the economics and international relations literatures. Sanctions may be imposed not to bring about maximum economic damage to the target, but for expressive or demonstrative purposes. Moreover, the political effects of sanctions on the target nation are sometimes perverse, generating increased levels of political resistance to the sanctioners' demands. The economic impacts of trade sanctions on the target country are reflected in their terms-of-trade effects, which are larger in the case of multilateral sanctions than unilateral. Investment sanctions initially raise the rate of return to capital in the target country, but eventually the decrease in the inflow of new capital from abroad constrains the target's growth. Using an interest group model of endogenous policy, the level of sanctions imposed is shown to depend on the relative influences of competing interest groups within the sanctioning country. In the target country, normally only those sanctions that have differential effects on supporters and opponents of the ruling regime will induce the regime to alter its objectionable policy. Game-theoretic models suggest that the success of sanctions depends on conflict expectations and levels of commitment. Many sanctions strategies end at the threat stage, without sanctions being implemented. Consequently, empirical studies using data on actually applied sanctions may exhibit selection bias. In general, the processes generating sanctions and the processes determining their outcome are intrinsically linked. Empirical work on sanctions has attempted to address this problem through the use of simultaneous equations methods. The empirical literature has also investigated the role of political regime type, specifically, democracy or the absence thereof, in determining nations' proclivities to impose sanctions and the success of the sanctions.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

in new window

This chapter was published in:
  • Keith Hartley & Todd Sandler (ed.), 2007. "Handbook of Defense Economics," Handbook of Defense Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 2, number 1, 00.
  • This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Defense Economics with number 2-27.
    Handle: RePEc:eee:hdechp:2-27
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:hdechp:2-27. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.