chapter  1
18 Pages

Sanctions and their efficacy

Notwithstanding the fact that the debate on the efficacy of sanctions has been in existence for four decades, the investigation of their efficacy has not yet yielded satisfactory results. The determinants for the success and failure of sanctions have not yet been ascertained. The inherent difficulty of the task has been further compounded by a transformation of the instrument itself. Classical comprehensive trade embargoes have given way to more sophisticated measures, so-called ‘targeted’ sanctions. After addressing some essential definitional questions, this chapter outlines the progress made in International Relations (IR) scholarship in identifying the determinants of the success and failure of sanctions. It then proceeds to describe the emergence of the new concept of targeted sanctions, and to discuss its implications for the sanctions debate, paying special attention to the case of sanctions imposed by the EU.1

The final section of the chapter discusses a number of methodological issues related to the analysis and measurement of success, and identifies flaws, with a view to obviating them in the design of the present study. What are targeted sanctions? How do they differ from classical embargoes? How have they affected IR scholarship on sanctions evaluation, and how well has the methodology of evaluation been adapted to study their impact?