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Precision-Guided or Blunt? The Effects of US Economic Sanctions on Human Rights

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  • Jerg Gutmann
  • Matthias Neuenkirch
  • Florian Neumeier

    ()

Abstract

This study contributes to the literature that analyzes the consequences of economic sanctions for the target country’s human rights situation. We offer a political economy explanation for different types of human rights infringements or improvements in reaction to economic shocks caused by sanctions. Based on this, we derive hypotheses linking sanctions to four types of human rights: economic rights, political and civil rights, basic human rights, and emancipatory rights. We use endogenous treatment regression models to estimate the causal average treatment effect of US economic sanctions on each type of human rights within a uniform empirical framework. In contrast to previous studies, we find no adverse effects of sanctions on economic rights, political and civil rights, and basic human rights, once the endogenous selection into sanctions is modelled. With respect to women’s rights, our findings even indicate a positive relationship. Emancipatory rights are, on average, strengthened when a country experiences sanctions by the US. Our findings are robust and we find little evidence for effect heterogeneity between types of target countries or sanctions. Most importantly, this study shows that the endogeneity of treatment assignment must be modelled when the consequences of sanctions are studied empirically.

Suggested Citation

  • Jerg Gutmann & Matthias Neuenkirch & Florian Neumeier, 2016. "Precision-Guided or Blunt? The Effects of US Economic Sanctions on Human Rights," ifo Working Paper Series 229, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_229
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Florian Neumeier, 2015. "Do Businessmen Make Good Governors?," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201519, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    2. Jerg Gutmann & Matthias Neuenkirch & Florian Neumeier, 2017. "Sanctioned to Death? The Impact of Economic Sanctions on Life Expectancy and its Gender Gap," Research Papers in Economics 2017-06, University of Trier, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Democratization; discrimination; economic sanctions; endogenous treatment model; human rights; repression; United States;

    JEL classification:

    • F51 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Conflicts; Negotiations; Sanctions
    • F52 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - National Security; Economic Nationalism
    • F53 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations
    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)
    • K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
    • P14 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Property Rights
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy

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