Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 57
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Allen, Michael A. 2016. Blog Consumption and International Relations. Journal of Political Science Education, Vol. 12, Issue. 2, p. 169.

    Early, Bryan R. and Jadoon, Amira 2016. Do Sanctions Always Stigmatize? The Effects of Economic Sanctions on Foreign Aid. International Interactions, Vol. 42, Issue. 2, p. 217.

    Golikova, Victoria and Kuznetsov, Boris 2016. Perception of risks associated with economic sanctions: the case of Russian manufacturing. Post-Soviet Affairs, p. 1.

    Heinrich, Tobias Kobayashi, Yoshiharu and Peterson, Timothy M. 2016. Sanction Consequences and Citizen Support: A Survey Experiment. International Studies Quarterly, p. sqw019.

    Lucena Carneiro, Cristiane and Apolinário, Laerte 2016. Targeted Versus Conventional Economic Sanctions: What Is at Stake for Human Rights?. International Interactions, Vol. 42, Issue. 4, p. 565.

    Michael, Gabriel J. 2016. International Coercion and the Diffusion of Regulatory Data Protection. The Journal of World Intellectual Property, Vol. 19, Issue. 1-2, p. 2.

    Plets, Gertjan 2016. Heritage statecraft: When archaeological heritage meets neoliberalism in Gazprom's resource colonies, Russia. Journal of Field Archaeology, Vol. 41, Issue. 3, p. 368.

    Powell, Jonathan Lasley, Trace and Schiel, Rebecca 2016. Combating Coups d’état in Africa, 1950–2014. Studies in Comparative International Development,


    Armijo, Leslie Elliott and Katada, Saori N. 2015. Theorizing the Financial Statecraft of Emerging Powers. New Political Economy, Vol. 20, Issue. 1, p. 42.

    Rana, Arslan Tariq 2015. Trade and Conflicts: Do Preferential Trade Agreements Matter?. Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, Vol. 21, Issue. 4,

    Spaniel, William and Smith, Bradley C. 2015. Sanctions, Uncertainty, and Leader Tenure. International Studies Quarterly, p. n/a.

    von Soest, Christian and Wahman, Michael 2015. Are democratic sanctions really counterproductive?. Democratization, Vol. 22, Issue. 6, p. 957.

    Armijo, Leslie Elliott and Katada, Saori N. 2014. The Financial Statecraft of Emerging Powers.

    Cranmer, Skyler J. Heinrich, Tobias and Desmarais, Bruce A. 2014. Reciprocity and the structural determinants of the international sanctions network. Social Networks, Vol. 36, p. 5.

    Drury, A. Cooper James, Patrick and Peksen, Dursun 2014. Neo-Kantianism and Coercive Diplomacy: The Complex Case of Economic Sanctions. International Interactions, Vol. 40, Issue. 1, p. 25.

    Duanmu, Jing-Lin 2014. State-owned MNCs and host country expropriation risk: The role of home state soft power and economic gunboat diplomacy. Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 45, Issue. 8, p. 1044.

    Grauvogel, Julia and von Soest, Christian 2014. Claims to legitimacy count: Why sanctions fail to instigate democratisation in authoritarian regimes. European Journal of Political Research, Vol. 53, Issue. 4, p. 635.

    Krasner, Stephen D. and Weinstein, Jeremy M. 2014. Improving Governance from the Outside In. Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 17, Issue. 1, p. 123.

    Lilliestam, Johan 2014. Vulnerability to terrorist attacks in European electricity decarbonisation scenarios: Comparing renewable electricity imports to gas imports. Energy Policy, Vol. 66, p. 234.


The Hidden Hand of Economic Coercion


Why do policymakers consistently employ economic sanctions even though scholars consider them an ineffective tool of statecraft? Game-theoretic models of economic coercion suggest the success rate may be understated because of selection effects. When the targeted country prefers conceding to incurring the cost of sanctions, it has an incentive to acquiesce before the imposition of sanctions. The bulk of successful coercion episodes should therefore end with sanctions threatened but not imposed. This contradicts the recent literature on sanctions, which assumes that sanctions rarely, if ever, work at generating significant concessions from the targeted country and are imposed for domestic or symbolic political reasons. If the game-theoretic argument is correct, the crucial cases to study are those in which coercion is threatened but not implemented. A statistical analysis of data on sanctions in pursuit of economic or regulatory goals strongly supports the gametheoretic argument. These results suggest that the significance of economic coercion has been undervalued in the study of statecraft and international relations more generally.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

David A Baldwin 1985. Economic Statecraft Princeton, N J.: Princeton University Press.

David A. Baldwin 1999/2000 The Sanctions Debate and the Logic of Choice. International Security 24 (3):80107.

Henry Bienen , and Robert Gilpin . 1980 Economic Sanctions as a Response to Terrorism. Journal of Strategic Studies 3 (1):8998.

Sean M. Bolks , and Dina Al-Sowayel . 2000 How Long Do Economic Sanctions Last? Examining the Sanctions Process Through Duration. Political Research Quarterly 53 (2):241–65.

Lori Buck , Nicole Gallant , and Kim Richard Nossal . 1998. Sanctions as a Gendered Instrument of Statecraft: The Case of Iraq. Review of International Studies 24 (1):6984.

Dashti-Gibson, Patricia Davis Jaleh , and Benjamin Radcliff . 1997. On the Determinants of the Success of Economic Sanctions: An Empirical Analysis. American Journal of Political Science 41 (2):608–18.

Elizabeth R. DeSombre 1995. Baptists and Bootleggers for the Environment: The Origins of United States Unilateral Sanctions. Journal of Environment and Development 4 (1):5375.

Han Dorussen , and Jongryn Mo . 2001. Ending Economic Sanctions: Audience Costs and Rent-Seeking as Commitment Strategies. Journal of Conflict Resolution 45 (4):395426.

Margaret P. Doxey 1987. International Sanctions in Contemporary Perspective. New York: St Martin's Press.

Daniel W. Drezner 1999. The Sanctions Paradox Economic Statecraft and International Relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Daniel W. Drezner 2001. Outside the Box: Explaining Sanctions in Pursuit of Foreign Economic Goals. International Interactions 26 (4):379410.

A. Cooper Drury . 1998. Revisiting “Economic Sanctions Reconsidered.” Journal of Peace Research 35 (4):497509.

Jonathan Eaton , and Maxim Engers . 1992. Sanctions. Journal of Political Economy 100 (5):899928.

Kimberly Ann Elliott , and Peter P. Uimonen . 1993. The Effectiveness of Economic Sanctions with Application to the Case of Iraq. Japan and the World Economy 5 (4):403–9.

Robert Gilpin . 1987. The Political Economy of International Relations. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Richard N. Haass 1997. Sanctioning Madness. Foreign Affairs 76 (6):7485.

Robert A. Hart Jr 2000. Democracy and the Successful Use of Economic Sanctions. Political Research Quarterly 53 (2):267–84.

San Ling Lam . 1990. Economic Sanctions and the Success of Foreign Policy Goals: A Critical Evaluation. Japan and the World Economy 2 (3):239–48.

James M. Lindsay 1986. Trade Sanctions as Policy Instruments: A Re-examination. International Studies Quarterly 30 (2):153–73.

Michael Mastanduno . 1998. Economics and Security in Statecraft and Scholarship. International Organization 52 (4):825–54.

T. Clifton Morgan , and Valerie L. Schwebach . 1997. Fools Suffer Gladly. The Use of Economic Sanctions in International Crises. International Studies Quarterly 41 (1):2750.

Rebecca B. Morton 1999. Methods and Models A Guide to the Empirical Analysis of Formal Models in Political Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Marcus Noland . 1997. Chasing Phantoms: The Political Economy of USTR. International Organization 51 (3):365–87.

Irfan Nooruddin . 2002. Modeling Selection Bias in Studies of Sanctions Efficacy International Interactions 28 (1):5975.

Paul A. Papayoanou 1999. Power Ties Economic Interdependence, Balancing, and War. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Robert Pape . 1997. Why Economic Sanctions Do Not Work. International Security 22 (2):90136.

Norrin Ripsman , and Jean-Marc Blanchard 1996/1997. Commercial Liberalism Under Fire: Evidence from 1914 and 1936. Security Studies 6 (1):450.

Ariel Rubinstein . 1982. Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model. Econometrica 50 (1) 97110.

John Sislin . 1994. Arms as Influence: The Determinants of Successful Influence. Journal of Conflict Resolution 38 (4):665–89.

Lars S. Skålnes 2000. Politics, Markets, and Grand Strategy Foreign Economic Policies as Strategic Instruments. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Alistair Smith . 1996. The Success and Use of Economic Sanctions. International Interactions 21 (3):229–45.

Otto Wolff von Amerongen . 1980. Economic Sanctions as a Foreign Policy Tool? International Security 5 (2):159–67.

Kenneth N. Waltz 1999. Globalization and Governance. PS Political Science and Politics 32 (4).693700.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Organization
  • ISSN: 0020-8183
  • EISSN: 1531-5088
  • URL: /core/journals/international-organization
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *