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The Impact of UN and US Economic Sanctions on GDP Growth

  • Matthias Neuenkirch
  • Florian Neumeier

In this paper, we empirically assess how economic sanctions imposed by the UN and the US affect the target states’ GDP growth. Our sample includes 68 countries and covers the period 1976–2012. We find, first, that sanctions imposed by the UN have a statistically and economically significant influence on economic growth. On average, the imposition of UN sanctions decreases the target state’s real per capita GDP growth rate by 2.3–3.5 percentage points (pp). These adverse effects last for a period of 10 years. Comprehensive UN economic sanctions, that is, embargoes affecting nearly all economic activity, trigger a reduction in GDP growth by more than 5 pp. Second, the effect of US sanctions is much smaller and less distinct. The imposition of US sanctions decreases GDP growth in the target state over a period of 7 years and, on average, by 0.5–0.9 pp.

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Paper provided by University of Trier, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2014-08.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:trr:wpaper:201408
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  1. Joshua Aizenman & Nancy Marion, 1991. "Policy Uncertainty, Persistence and Growth," NBER Working Papers 3848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Roubini, Nouriel & Swagel, Phillip & Ozler, Sule & Alesina, Alberto, 1996. "Political Instability and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4553024, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. William H. Kaempfer & Anton D. Lowenberg & William Mertens, 2004. "International Economic Sanctions Against a Dictator," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(1), pages 29-51, 03.
  4. Evenett, Simon J, 2002. "The Impact of Economic Sanctions on South African Exports," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(5), pages 557-73, December.
  5. 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.
  6. Alesina, Alberto, et al, 1996. " Political Instability and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 189-211, June.
  7. 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 786-93, September.
  8. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1993. "Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment," NBER Working Papers 4486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1996. "Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment," Scholarly Articles 4553018, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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