Counterfactual coercion: could harsher sanctions against Russia have prevented the worst?

Room 527, Naftali Building, Monday, March 27th, 2023, 16:15 – 18:00

"Counterfactual coercion: could harsher sanctions against Russia have prevented the worst?"

Thies Niemeier


Gerald Schneider, University of Konstanz

There is increasing evidence that properly designed sanctions can force the target to refrain from violating international norms. However, the sanction regimes of the European Union and the United States are biased to the extent that the norm violations by powerful culprits often escape adequate punishments. This article addresses these regularities through a predictive approach. Based on a detailed data set, we predict the onset, intensity, and success of sanctions in the post-Cold War era. We perform conditional forecasts to answer the “what-if” question of whether adequate sanctions could have provoked the desired policy changes. To this end, we use a training data set for the period from 1989 to 2008 to predict the outcome of possible and realized economic sanctions from 2009 to 2015. We present policy counterfactuals for key sanction cases. Our predictions show that stricter EU coercion against Russia after the annexation of Crimea could have triggered policy concessions from the regime of President Putin, but that similarly intensive measures by the US would not necessarily have had the same desirable effect.

Room 527, Naftali Building
Monday, March 27th, 2023
16:15 – 18:00

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