The Sanctions Paradox

The Sanctions Paradox : Economic Statecraft and International Relations

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Despite their increasing importance, there is little theoretical understanding of why nation-states initiate economic sanctions, or what determines their success. This 1999 book argues that both imposers and targets of economic coercion incorporate expectations of future conflict as well as the short-run opportunity costs of coercion into their behaviour. Drezner argues that conflict expectations have a paradoxical effect. Adversaries will impose sanctions frequently, but rarely secure concessions. Allies will be reluctant to use coercion, but once sanctions are used, they can result in significant concessions. Ironically, the most favourable distribution of payoffs is likely to result when the imposer cares the least about its reputation or the distribution of gains. The book's argument is pursued using game theory and statistical analysis, and detailed case studies of Russia's relations with newly-independent states, and US efforts to halt nuclear proliferation on the Korean peninsula.

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  • Online resource
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • CambridgeUnited Kingdom
  • 4 b/w illus. 1 map 37 tables
  • 0511549369
  • 9780511549366

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'The Sanctions Paradox is one of the best books written in the field of international political economy during the 1990s. It offers a simple but clever theory that explains when states are likely to employ economic sanctions and when they are likely to work. Since sanctions seem destined to remain a favourite tool of statecraft in the 21st century, this book is likely to be paid serious attention for years to come.' John Mearsheimer, University of Chicago

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