Julia Grauvogel / Christian von Soest

Claims to Legitimacy Matter: Why Sanctions Fail to Instigate Democratization in Authoritarian Regimes

GIGA Working Paper, No. 235, October 2013

Abstract
International sanctions have been one of the most commonly used tools of Western foreign policy in the post‐Cold War era to instigate democratization globally. However, despite long‐term external pressure through sanctions imposed by the European Union, the United States and/or the United Nations, nondemocratic rule in cases such as Belarus, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea and Syria has proven to be extremely persistent. In this paper, we analyze a new global dataset on sanctions from 1990 to 2011 and assess which international and domestic factors account for the persistence of nondemocratic rule in targeted regimes. The results of a fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) of 120 episodes of sanctions provide new insights for the research on both sanctions and authoritarian regimes. Most significantly, sanctions strengthen nondemocratic rule if the regime manages to incorporate their existence into its legitimation strategy. Such a "rally‐round‐the‐flag" effect occurs most often in cases where comprehensive sanctions targeting the entire Population are imposed on regimes that enjoy strong claims to legitimacy and have only limited linkages to the sanction sender.

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GIGA Authors

Dr. Julia Grauvogel

Senior Research Fellow
Speaker Research Team

Dr. Julia Grauvogel is a senior research fellow at the GIGA Institute of African Affairs. She is also spokesperson for the GIGA Research Team “Interventions and Security,” as well as Editor of Africa Spectrum. Her work focuses on international sanctions, authoritarianism, and the legitimation strategies of non-democratic regimes. Currently, she heads the research project “The Termination of International Sanctions: Causes, Processes and Domestic Consequences”, funded by the DFG.

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

Julia Grauvogel / Hana Attia

How do international sanctions end? Towards a process-oriented, relational, and signaling perspective

Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen, forthcoming

Hana Attia / Julia Grauvogel

Easier In Than Out: The Protracted Process of Ending Sanctions

GIGA Focus Global, 05/2019

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