Falling Out of Favor: Economic Sanctions and the Tenure of Leaders

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Abstract: Despite their increasing popularity as tools of statecraft, the effectiveness of economic sanctions remains contested in both the political and academic community. Few attempts have been made to track this spotty track record back to the incentives of targeted leaders through direct statistical analyses of leader survival. With an updated measure of leader failure, which more carefully discriminates between leaders‟ reasons for leaving power, the analyses here contradict previous findings. Economic sanctions do not consistently endanger the political prospects of their targets. To the contrary, leaders targeted with economic sanctions or the threat thereof face systematically lower risks of losing office through a mechanism indicative of failure than do those who have not been “punished” by another state or the international community.

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  • Amanda Licht

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