Economic Sanctions and Public Opinion: Survey Experiments from Russia
40 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 6, 2017
Do economic sanctions turn the public against the target government or cause it to rally around the flag? Does the public response to sanctions depend on the sanctioner’s identity or on the partisanship of the respondent? These questions have very rarely been explored with survey data. Results from two surveys in Russia find that, in contrast to the “orthodox” and the “rally around flag” theories, economic sanctions do not have a direct effect on support for the sanctioned government. However, in line with “scapegoating” arguments, sanctions weaken the impact of economic decline on support for the government. In addition, public responses are shaped by partisan attitudes, but not by the identity of the sender. More generally, respondents may react more strongly to the reasons why sanctions were put in place than to the sanctions themselves. These results suggest the need to reevaluate theories of the impact of economic sanctions.
Keywords: Sanctions, Public Opinion, Autocracy, Non-Democratic Regimes, Russia
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