Constraints or Cover? International Institutions and Trade with Sanctioned States
47 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 18 Aug 2011
Date Written: 2011
How do international institutions affect trade with sanctioned states? Despite the central role played by international institutions in theories of sanctions success, little is actually known about the direct effects they have on state behavior. This paper explores the effects that institutional membership and institutional sanctions have on states’ proclivity to sanctions-bust. We test the literature’s assumption that international institutions’ sanctions are capable of preventing their members from undercutting sanctioning efforts by trading heavily with the sanctions’ target. We test this hypothesis and others via an analysis of the trade conducted with the targets of 164 sanctions episodes from 1950-2004 and the role played by five different international institutions. Surprisingly, we find only weak evidence that institutional sanctions actually reduce their members’ likelihoods of sanctions-busting and no evidence that U.N. sanctions do. We also find that members of the European Union avidly sanctions-bust - even when the institution participates in sanctioning efforts. These findings indicate that international institutions play a far more complicated role in affecting sanctions outcomes than previously assumed and have salient policy implications.
Keywords: Economic Sanctions, International Institutions, Sanctions-Busting, United Nations, European Union
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