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Economic Sanctions and Demand for Protection

Journal of Conflict Resolution

Published online on


How do the distributional consequences of economic sanctions impact future trade policy? Regardless of whether sanctions are effective in achieving concessions, sanctions restrict international trade flows, creating rents for import-competing producers, who are protected from international competition. These rents can then be used to pressure the government to implement protectionist policies. Thus, while the lifting of sanctions directly facilitates some international transactions, sanctions also have an indirect effect. They create powerful domestic interest groups in the sanctioned country who seek market protection. I use multiple estimators to evaluate the effect of trade sanctions on tariff rates. The evidence is consistent with the argument that sanctions increase market protection in both the short and long run.