Christian von Soest / Michael Wahman

Are All Dictators Equal? The Selective Targeting of Democratic Sanctions against Authoritarian Regimes

GIGA Working Paper, No. 230, July 2013

Abstract
Since the end of the Cold War, Western powers have frequently used sanctions as a reaction to declining levels of democracy and human rights violations in authoritarian regimes. However, some of the world’s most repressive authoritarian regimes have never been subjected to sanctions, while other more competitive autocracies have been exposed to repeated sanction episodes instigated by Western democracies as an attempt to enhance democracy and human rights. In this paper, we investigate how the United States and the European Union have selectively used sanctions as a tool to improve the level of democracy in targeted authoritarian states. Using a new dataset on democratic sanctions between 1990 and 2010, time-series–cross-sectional logistic regression and a number of strategically selected case studies, we find strong support for the suggestion that senders select economically and politically vulnerable targets where the expected probability of sanction success is high.

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GIGA Authors

Dr. Christian von Soest is a lead research fellow at the GIGA Institute for African Affairs (IAA) and head of the GIGA Research Programme 2 “Peace and Security.” His work focuses on sanctions and other foreign policy interventions, conflict processes, and the domestic and international politics of authoritarian regimes. He leads the GIGA’s contribution to the project B3: “Conflict and Cooperation at the Climate-Security Nexus,” forming part of the “Climate, Climate Change, and Society” (CLICCS) Excellence Cluster of the University of Hamburg (www.cliccs.uni-hamburg.de/research/theme-b/b3.html).

Recent Publications by the Authors

Hana Attia / Julia Grauvogel / Christian von Soest

The Termination of International Sanctions: Explaining Target Compliance and Sender Capitulation

European Economic Review, 129, 2020

Sandra Destradi / Christian von Soest

Internationales Krisenmanagement

in: Frank Bösch / Nicole Deitelhoff / Stefan Kroll (eds.), Handbuch Krisenforschung, Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien, 2020, 233-248

Christian von Soest

A Heated Debate: Climate Change and Conflict in Africa

GIGA Focus Africa, 02/2020

Christian von Soest

Individual Sanctions: Toward a New Research Agenda

CESifo Forum, 20, 2019, 4, 28-31

Marcus Tannenberg / Michael Bernhard / Johannes Gerschewski / Anna Lührmann / Christian Von Soest

Regime Legitimation Strategies (RLS) 1900 to 2018

V-Dem Working Papers, 2019, 86