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 IAA and head of Research Programme 2 “Peace and Security.” His work focuses on international sanctions, the persistence and change of authoritarian regimes, foreign policy, and limited statehood, as well as on corruption and its effects on political regimes.

Recent Publications by the Authors

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

Regime Legitimation Strategies (RLS), 1900 to 2018

V-Dem Working Papers, 2019, 86

Tabea Lakemann / Christian von Soest

Ten Things to Watch in Africa in 2019

GIGA Focus Africa, 01/2019

Julia Grauvogel / Christian von Soest

Identity, procedures and performance: how authoritarian regimes legitimize their rule

in: Alexander Dukalskis / Johannes Gerschewski (eds.), Justifying Dictatorship: Studies in Autocratic Legitimation, Routledge, 2018, 37-55

Christian von Soest / Helga Dickow

Südafrika

Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, 2018