Economic Sanctions and Human Rights: Quantifying Proportionality

32 Pages Posted: 22 May 2018 Last revised: 11 Apr 2022

See all articles by Armin Steinbach

Armin Steinbach

HEC Paris; Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods

Jerg Gutmann

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law and Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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: May 9, 2018

Abstract

The content of the proportionality principle applicable to sanctions varies across areas of substantive law, yet with the benchmarks of necessity and proportionality stricto sensu looming prominently. Both rest on empirical premises – with the necessity test involving a prognostic effectiveness assessment and the proportionality test assessing the actual effects the sanction exerts on the target and collaterally. This study examines the empirical premises that determine the proportionality judgment and, more generally, inquires into the potential and limitations of quantitative assessments in international law. To that end, we employ econometric techniques to explore the proportionality of US sanction episodes between 1976 and 2012. Our results cast doubt on the effectiveness of sanctions aiming at human rights improvements; they refine the (un)proportionality judgment of sanctions by distinguishing the variable impact on specific human rights; and they inform the debate on unilateral versus multilateral as well as targeted sanctions. More generally, the article adds to our understanding of the potential contribution of statistical evidence to inform the application of proportionality in the field of international law and outlines limitations associated with importing quantitative standards into the proportionality assessment.

Suggested Citation

Steinbach, Armin and Gutmann, Jerg and Neuenkirch, Matthias and Neumeier, Florian, Economic Sanctions and Human Rights: Quantifying Proportionality (May 9, 2018). Harvard Human Rights Journal, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3175885 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3175885

Armin Steinbach

HEC Paris ( email )

1 rue de la Liberation
Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, 78351
France

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.hec.edu/en/faculty-research/faculty-directory/faculty-member/steinbach-armin

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt Schumacher Str 10
Bonn, 53113
Germany

Jerg Gutmann

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

Johnsallee 35
Hamburg, 20148
Germany

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

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
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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