Precision-Guided or Blunt? The Effects of US Economic Sanctions on Human Rights

Universitat Trier, Research Papers in Economics, No. 9/16

45 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2016 Last revised: 15 Aug 2017

See all articles by Jerg Gutmann

Jerg Gutmann

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law and Economics

Matthias Neuenkirch

University of Trier - Faculty of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Florian Neumeier

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute

Date Written: August 15, 2017

Abstract

This study contributes to the literature that analyzes the consequences of economic sanctions for the target country’s human rights situation. We offer a political economy explanation for different types of human rights infringements or improvements in reaction to economic shocks caused by sanctions. Based on this, we derive hypotheses linking sanctions to four types of human rights: economic rights, political and civil rights, basic human rights, and emancipatory rights. We use endogenous treatment-regression models to test these hypotheses by estimating the causal average treatment effect of US economic sanctions on each type of human rights within a uniform empirical framework. Unlike previous studies, we find no support for adverse effects of sanctions on economic rights or basic human rights, once the endogenous selection of sanctioned countries is modelled. With respect to women’s rights, our findings even indicate a positive effect of sanctions. In contrast, our results for political rights and civil liberties suggest that they deteriorate significantly under economic sanctions. We conclude that it is important to account for the potential endogeneity of economic sanctions and to distinguish different dimensions of human rights, as the effects of economic sanctions on these dimensions may vary considerably.

Keywords: Democratization, Discrimination, Economic Sanctions, Endogenous Treatment Model, Human Rights, Repression, United States

JEL Classification: F51, F52, F53, K10, K11, P14, P16, P26

Suggested Citation

Gutmann, Jerg and Neuenkirch, Matthias and Neumeier, Florian, Precision-Guided or Blunt? The Effects of US Economic Sanctions on Human Rights (August 15, 2017). Universitat Trier, Research Papers in Economics, No. 9/16. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2805887 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2805887

Jerg Gutmann

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law and Economics ( email )

Johnsallee 35
Hamburg, 20148
Germany

Matthias Neuenkirch (Contact Author)

University of Trier - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Universitätsring 15
Trier, 54296
Germany
+49 - (0)651 - 201 - 2629 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uni-trier.de/index.php?id=50130

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Florian Neumeier

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, 01069
Germany

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