How Sanctions Work: A Framework for Analysis

  • Neta C. Crawford
  • Audie Klotz
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


How do sanctions work, if they work at all? Do they convince actors to change their behavior and/or beliefs, or do they primarily alter the capabilities of states? Alternatively, when do restrictions of customary interactions provoke defensive isolation or retaliation? The conventional wisdom, mirroring the League of Nations concept of collective security, assumes that sanctions must be comprehensive to be successful. For collective security to work, a potential aggressor must believe that all or most other states will rally against it. Similarly, scholars of international trade highlight the financial incentives governments and corporations have to sell restricted commodities to embargoed states, evident in the long historical record of sanctions “busting”. Does imposition and enforcement of sanctions have to be comprehensive, “watertight,” to be effective, or can “leaky” sanctions influence the target? Which types of sanctions are best suited for particular purposes? Are there “smart” sanctions that can be focused on decision makers and have little adverse affect on non-target populations within the target state and neighboring countries?


Civil Society Foreign Policy Target State International Relation Import Substitution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    N. M. Stultz, “Sanctions, Models of Change, and South Africa,” South Africa International 13 (1982), pp. 121–9.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Chien-pin Li, “The Effectiveness of Sanction Linkages: Issues and Actors”, International Studies Quarterly 3 (1993), pp. 349–70: 353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    D. A. Baldwin, Economic Statecraft (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985), pp. 118–30. Baldwin argues that decision makers ought to consider costs, risks, and benefits but rarely do so in a precise manner.Google Scholar
  4. 3a.
    Also see B. Jentleson, Pipeline Politics: The Complex Political Economy of East—West Energy Trade (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1986), p. 29Google Scholar
  5. 3b.
    A. Hirschman, National Power and the Structure of Foreign Trade (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1945)Google Scholar
  6. 3c.
    E. M. Crumm, “The Value of Economic Incentives in International Politics,” Journal of Peace Research 32 (1995), pp. 313–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 4.
    See G. Allison, Essence of Decision (Boston: Little Brown, 1971)Google Scholar
  8. 4a.
    A. L. George and R. Smoke, Deterrence and American Foreign Policy: Theory and Practice (New York: Columbia University Press, 1974)Google Scholar
  9. 4b.
    R. Jervis, Perception and Misperception in International Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976).Google Scholar
  10. 9.
    C. Joyner, “Sanctions and International Law,” in D. Cortright and G. A. Lopez, eds., Economic Sanctions: Panacea or Peacebuilding in a Post—Cold War World? (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1995), pp. 73–87: 74.Google Scholar
  11. 18.
    M. Finnemore, “International Organizations as Teachers of Norms: The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization and Science Policy,” International Organization 47 (1993), pp. 565–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 19.
    M. P. Doxey, International Sanctions in Contemporary Perspective (New York: St. Martin’s, 1987), p. 146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 20.
    See, for instance, P. Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (New York: Random House, 1988).Google Scholar
  14. 24.
    See D. Geldenhuys, Isolated States: A Comparative Analysis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).Google Scholar
  15. 28.
    See K. A. Rodman, “Public and Private Sanctions Against South Africa,” Political Science Quarterly 109 (1994), pp. 313–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 29.
    For example, S. Haggard, Pathways from the Periphery (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991).Google Scholar
  17. 36.
    See N. C. Crawford, “Decolonization as an International Norm: The Evolution of Practices, Arguments and Beliefs,” in L. W. Reed and C. Kaysen, eds., Emerging Norms of Justified Intervention (Cambridge: American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1993), pp. c–61: 46; KlotzGoogle Scholar
  18. 38.
    L. Buck, N. Gallant, and K. R. Nossal, “Sanctions as a Gendered Instrument of Statecraft: The Iraqi Case,” Review of International Studies 24 (1998), pp. 69–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Neta C. Crawford and Audie Klotz 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neta C. Crawford
  • Audie Klotz

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations