Political science Essay | Online Homework Help

Subject: Political science


Topic: International Political Economy


Paper details:

Briefly summarize for me the effects of economic sanctions on a government and the population of the target country. Why do these happen?


Economic Sanctions


Economic sanctions (also called coercive diplomacy), are any foreign policy enacted by one state that restricts economic interactions with another state. These are not done for purposes of trade protection, as is typical for most of the trade policies we discussed in this class. Instead, this is meant to 1) cause economic costs to the target state, with the goal toward making them cave in to the sender’s demands 2) signal strong opposition (and the possibility of escalation into the use of force) by enacting a policy that harms the target and also harms the sender. Basically, it is the sending state saying “I dislike what you are doing so much that I am willing to hurt my own economic prosperity to stop you.”


These are an increasingly common form of coercion, because of what they do (as stated above) and that they are somewhat “cheap” in that they do not cost as much as using your military to coerce another country. The three pieces of literature this week cover research into whether or not sanctions work as a coercive policy. In short, they don’t work all that well (and can actually make things worse).


Drury and Peksen 2011

  • They examine whether the imposition of economic sanctions makes countries more or less free/repressive/violent.
  • Sanctions are supposed to harm the economic ability of leaders to act (by hurting tax revenue) and undermine domestic political legitimacy (by making the population upset that their leader tanked the economy).
  • These authors argue that the economic sanctions actually increase incentives for leaders to be repressive in order to put down any political dissent, not look weak. And, those who are hurt first and are the most likely to rebel tend to be the poorest/most discriminated against anyway.


Escriba-Folch 2012

  • Looks at this from the target state side of things (whereas the others looked from the perspective of the sender).
  • It reinforces some of the findings in Drury and Peksen 2011 and shows some of the same effects.
    • Increase repression and military spending.


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