1. bookVolume 14 (2021): Issue 1 (June 2021)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
1338-4309
First Published
03 Aug 2009
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

The Effectiveness of Economic Sanctions: A Literature Review

Published Online: 12 May 2021
Volume & Issue: Volume 14 (2021) - Issue 1 (June 2021)
Page range: 239 - 259
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
1338-4309
First Published
03 Aug 2009
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

This paper offers a broader reflection on the current and historical discourse related to the analysis of the effectiveness of economic sanctions. Is it possible to reliably measure the effectiveness of economic sanctions ? In addition to summarizing the literature in this area, the article points out numerous problems in the interpretation and use of terminology. Confusion about different approaches in this discipline creates an environment in which it is difficult to orient oneself or segregate objective information. This confusion affects the behaviour of national governments. National governments frequently resort to economic sanctions, even though the measurement of their effectiveness is unclear. The article aims to introduce partial and valid arguments related to the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the imposed sanctions. Moreover, its goal is to present the preferred approach how to measure the effectiveness. The paper concludes that universally valid metrics for measuring effectiveness are hardly achievable due to the inability to compare events across modern history, without taking into account the context. At the same time, there is neither a terminological nor a semantic consensus on the basic concepts, which makes the situation more complicated. One of the main issues is the inconsistent terminology, since many authors do not distinguish between effectiveness and efficiency. Thus, the author tends to interpret effectiveness as an ability to achieve the goals initially pre-set. Although this definition offers a rather loose view which does not allow too much comparison and generalization, it is, in the author’s view, the least “blurred” one. At the same time, the author encourages an individual approach to particular case reports and warns against attempting to econometrically and statistically capture something that is practically incommensurable or not measurable at all. Therefore, the author recommends, as a result of this literature overview, to stick to the perception of effectiveness (or its negation) as an ability (or a disability) to achieve predetermined goals. The value-added of this article is to contribute to the discussion about economic sanctions nowadays. It comes with conclusions about diverging approaches based on the unique, comprehensive literature review of respected authors. Also, the short list of case studies of what the author considers an example of effective and non-effective sanctions will be included.

Keywords

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