Theoretical Identification of the Mechanisms of Sanctions

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This chapter develops the ground for a comprehensive theoretical synthesis concerning the origins and impact of sanctions. The concept of the welfare state is central to understanding the mechanisms through which sanctions work. The chapter guides the reader through mainstream and alternative accounts of sanctions, including a brief overview of Welfare State Regime (WSR) approach that offers a theoretical framework for a comparative analysis of target states (Kirkham 2022). By looking inside the states under sanctions, the WSR approach addresses a crucial puzzle: why, even as sanctions have taken their toll on targeted states and induced economic problems and trade disruptions, have they been largely ineffective in terms of their stated objectives, such as political deterrence, foreign policy, or regime change. As some empirical cases demonstrate, despite initial economic grievances in the short run, in the longer run, the effects of sanctions are paradoxical: Target states manage to adjust to external pressures and to develop internal self-protection mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of the Political Economy of Sanctions
EditorsKsenia Kirkham
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781000982299, 9781003327448
ISBN (Print)9781032355634
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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