Do sanctions lead to a decline in civil liberties?
In this paper, we examine the effect of US-imposed sanctions on the civil liberties of the targeted countries for the 1972–2014 period. To deal with the problem of selection and to control for the pre-sanction dynamics, we use a potential outcomes framework, which does not rely on the selection of matching variables and has the further advantage of uncovering the effect of the treatment on the outcome variable over time. What we find is that sanctions result in a decline in civil liberties, measured either by the Freedom House civil liberties index or by the Cingranelli and Richards empowerment rights index. The results are robust across various specifications.
KeywordsSanctions Democracy Civil liberties
JEL ClassificationF51 F63 D74
We would like to thank Nikos Mylonidis, Thomas Moutos, Mario Gilli, Stamatia Ftergioti, Fabio Antoniou, Mohammad Reza Farzaneganm, Paul Schaudt, participants at the 11th CESifo Workshop on Political Economy, participants at the 2nd PEDD conference, and seminar participants at the University of Ioannina and University of Patras and two anonymous referees for all their valuable comments and suggestions.
- Acemoglu, D., Naidu, S., Restrepo, P., & Robinson, J. A. (2018). Democracy does cause growth. Journal of Political Economy (forthcoming).Google Scholar
- Angrist, J. D., & Pischke, J.-S. (2009). Mostly harmless ecoometrics: An empiricists companion. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Bjørnskov, C., & Rode, M. (2017). Regime types and regime change: A new dataset. Working Paper, Aarhus University and Universidad de Navarra.Google Scholar
- Cortright, D., & Lopez, G. A. (2000). The sanctions decade: Assessing UN strategies in the 1990s. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.Google Scholar
- Gastil, R. D. (1982). Freedom in the world: Political rights and civil liberties. Westport: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
- Gutmann, J., Neuenkirch, M., & Neumeier, F. (2016). Precision-guided or blunt? The effects of US economic sanctions on human rights (CESifo Working Paper Series No. 229). CESifo Institute, Munich.Google Scholar
- Henderson, C. W. (1998). Population pressures and political repression. Social Sciences Quarterly, 74(2), 322–333.Google Scholar
- Hufbauer, G. C., Schott, J. J., Elliott, K. A., & Oegg, B. (2009). Economic sanctions reconsidered. Peterson Institute for International Economics: Washington.Google Scholar
- Huntington, S. P. (1993). The third wave: Democratization in the late twentieth century. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.Google Scholar
- Kaempfer, W. H., & Lowenberg, A. D. (1988). The theory of international economic sanctions: A public choice approach. American Economic Review, 78(4), 786–793.Google Scholar
- Services, H. H. (2001). Overview and compilation of US trade statutes. Washington: US Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
- Weeks, J. L. P. (2014). Dictators at war and peace. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- Wooldridge, J. M. (2010). Econometric analysis of cross section and panel data. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar