Better or Worse? The Impact of Economic Sanctions on Human Rights Revisited
31 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2012
Date Written: December 2, 2011
Previous studies presume that economic sanctions increase the likelihood of political repression in targeted states. However, political scientists have failed to investigate the extent to which economic sanctions impact political repression in purely autocratic regimes. Understanding this relationship is important for both the scholarly and policy communities. It is important to the scholarly community because political scientist have overwhelmingly concluded that economic sanctions are ineffective and that they increase the likelihood of political repression. Presenting a study that examines this phenomenon, we analyze the relationship between economic sanctions and political repression in purely autocratic regimes using time-series cross-national data from 1981-2000. The results of this analysis suggest that economic sanctions imposed on purely autocratic regimes significantly decrease levels of political repression when measured in terms of extra judicial killings, political imprisonment, disappearances, and torture. The implications of this analysis suggest that international actors should continue to rely on coercive diplomacy on the international stage when dealing with the most autocratic forms of government. Furthermore scholars studying economic sanctions should revisit the assertion that economic sanctions increase political repression.
Keywords: Human Rights, Sanctions, International Relations
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