Coercive Diplomacy and Economic Sanctions Reciprocity: Explaining Targets’ Counter-Sanctions


Though reciprocity is an important aspect of coercive diplomacy, little is known about whether and when sanctioned countries (i.e., targets) respond to foreign pressure with their own counter-sanctions. The purpose of this article is to offer a comprehensive analysis of the conditions under which targets are more likely to employ economic counter-measures against their senders. Analyzing data for sanctions reciprocity episodes in the Threats and Imposition of Economic Sanctions (TIES) dataset, we find that targets with wealthier economies, less democratic regimes, or higher trade dependence on their senders are more likely to initiate reciprocal sanctions. Our findings also denote that sanctions reciprocity is more likely when targets are subject to sanctions by senders with poor economies or when the issue that instigates the initial sanctions is less salient. As the first cross-national, quantitative analysis of sanctions reciprocity, our analysis provides a more complete picture of how strategic ties between senders and targets unfold, and why some sanctions are more likely to fail or result in stalemate due to counter-sanctions employed by targets.

Publication Title

Defence and Peace Economics