Neo-Kantianism and Coercive Diplomacy: The Complex Case of Economic Sanctions


Although voluminous research connects the neo-Kantian triad-democracy, economic interdependence, and intergovernmental organization membership-to amelioration of conflict processes, comparatively little is known about how these factors relate to economic coercion. We advance the relevant literature on neo-Kantianism and the determinants of sanction decisions by (1) analyzing the impact of all three neo-Kantian factors on economic coercion and (2) assessing the effects of these factors across both the onset of threat and imposition of sanctions. Results from the time-series, cross-national data analyses indicate a significant but complex connection between the neo-Kantian variables and sanctions. Specifically, we find that although democratic regimes are less likely to threaten each other with sanctions, once a threat is made, democracies are more likely to impose sanctions against each other. Economic interdependence and common IGO membership are likely to increase the probability of sanction threats. Yet, the results also suggest that common IGO membership decreases the probability of sanction imposition while economic interdependence has no statistically significant effect on the decision to impose sanctions. Overall, these results highlight the importance of a more nuanced study of sanction decisions for a better understanding of the factors that lead to sanction use. © 2014 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Publication Title

International Interactions