Determinants of Sanctions Effectiveness: Sensitivity Analysis Using New Data

Navin A. Bapat, Tobias Heinrich, Yoshiharu Kobayashi, T. Clifton Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


In the literature on sanctions effectiveness, scholars have identified a number of factors that may contribute to sanctions success. However, existing empirical studies provide mixed findings concerning the effects of these factors. This research note explores two possible reasons for this lack of consistency in the literature. First, informed by the recent theories that suggest threats are an important part of sanctions episodes, we analyze both threats and imposed sanctions. Second, to lessen model dependency of empirical findings, we employ a methodology that permits us to check systematically the robustness of the empirical results under various model specifications. Using the newly released Threat and Imposition of Economic Sanctions data, our analyses of both threats and imposed sanctions show that two factors-involvement of international institutions and severe costs on target states-are positively and robustly related to sanctions success at every stage in sanctions episodes. Our analyses also identify a number of other variables that are systematically related to sanctions success, but the significance of these relationships depends on the specific model estimated. Finally, our results point to a number of differences at the threat and imposition stages, which suggests specific selection effects that should be explored in future work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-98
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Interactions
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • economic sanctions
  • international institutions
  • sensitivity analysis
  • threats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations

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