Economic sanctions

Economic sanctions are commercial and financial penalties applied by one or more countries against a targeted country, group, or individual.[1] Economic sanctions may include various forms of trade barriers, tariffs, and restrictions on financial transactions.[2] Economic sanctions are not necessarily imposed because of economic circumstances—they may also be imposed for a variety of political, military, and social issues. Economic sanctions can be used for achieving domestic and international purposes.[3][4][5]

Politics of sanctions

Economic sanctions are used as a tool of foreign policy by many governments. Economic sanctions are usually imposed by a larger country upon a smaller country for one of two reasons – either the latter is a threat to the security of the former nation or that country treats its citizens unfairly. They can be used as a coercive measure for achieving particular policy goals related to trade or for humanitarian violations. Economic sanctions are used as an alternative weapon instead of going to war to achieve desired outcomes.

Some policy analysts believe imposing trade restrictions only serves to hurt ordinary people.[6]

Effectiveness of economic sanctions

Regime change is the most frequent foreign policy objective of economic sanctions.[7] There is controversy over the effectiveness of economic sanctions in their ability to achieve the stated purpose. Haufbauer et al. claimed that in their studies 34 percent of the cases were successful [8] When Robert A. Pape reexamined their study, he claimed that only five of their forty so-called "successes" stood out, dropping their success rate to 4%.[9]

It also affects the economy of the imposing country to some degree. If import restrictions were made, the consumers in the imposing country would have fewer choices of goods. If export restrictions were made or sanction prohibited businesses in the imposing country from doing business with the target country, the imposing country could lose markets and investment opportunities to competing countries.[10]

Jeremy Greenstock suggests that the reason sanctions are popular is not that they are known to be effective, but "that there is nothing else between words and military action if you want to bring pressure upon a government".[11]

Current sanctions [12]

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.

By targeted country

By targeted individuals

By sanctioning country

By targeted activity

Bilateral trade disputes

Former sanctions

See also


  1. Financial Weapons of War, Minnesota Law Review (2016), available at:
  2. Haidar, J.I., 2015."Sanctions and Exports Deflection: Evidence from Iran," Paris School of Economics, University of Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, Mimeo
  3. "Playing to the Home Crowd? Symbolic Use of Economic Sanctions in ...". 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2015-03-30.
  4. Archived August 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. Archived February 27, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. Economic Sanctions Reconsidered, 3rd Edition, Hufbauer et al. page 67
  7. Economic Sanctions Reconsidered, 3rd Edition, Hufbauer et al. page 159
  8. Why economic sanctions still do not work, Robert A. Pape , page 66
  9. Griswold, Daniel (2000-11-27). "Going Alone on Economic Sanctions Hurts U.S. More than Foes | Cato Institute". Retrieved 2015-03-30.
  10. Marcus, Jonathan. "Analysis: Do economic sanctions work? - BBC News". Retrieved 2015-03-30.
  12. Howse, Robert L. and Genser, Jared M. (2008) "Are EU Trade Sanctions on Burma Compatible with WTO Law?" Michigan Journal of International Law 29(2): pp. 165–196
  13. "Clinton Ends Most N. Korea Sanctions". 1999-09-18. Retrieved 2015-03-30.
  14. Archived July 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. "Sanctions: U.S. action on cyber crime" (PDF). PwC Financial Services Regulatory Practice, April, 2015. External link in |website= (help)
  16. "Brazil slaps trade sanctions on U.S. to retaliate for subsidies to cotton farmers". 2010-03-09. Retrieved 2015-03-30.
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