Since 16 March 2014, the EU (in concerted action with the US) has frozen assets and imposed travel bans on 33 persons and an individual bank. On 20 March, Russia counteracted with the reciprocal blacklisting of EU and US officials. This pattern of tit for tat raises the question of the comparative vulnerability of the EU and Russia. In assessing this vulnerability, is not just the ability to inflict economic damage that matters, however, but also the way economic damage translates into political change. This means that one needs to consider the political system. It will be more difficult to influence decision-makers that do not attribute decisive weight to the potential damage done to their countrymen than to influence their counterparts in the European democracies.
Table 1 reports findings of two simple logit models that analyse the Peterson Institute database of economic sanctions (Hufbauer et al. 2008). Bilateral trade is represented in percentage of either the target’s total trade flow or its GDP. The models predict seven out of ten sanction cases correctly, and show that the positive impact of trade linkage and the negative impact of autocracy are highly significant.
Table 1. Success of sanctions: LOGIT estimates of the success score of sanctions, 1946–2000
|Trade linkage||Share in total trade||Share in target trade|
|Number of observations||166||161|
|Errors Type I (false positive)||38%||37%|
|Errors type II (false negative)||26%||25%|
*** 99%; ** 95% significance.
Source: Van Berg