How do economic sanctions affect the political attitudes of individuals in targeted countries? Do they reduce or increase support for policy change? Are targeted, “smart” sanctions more effective in generating public support? Despite the importance of these questions for understanding the effectiveness of sanctions, they have received little systematic attention. We address them drawing on original data from Israel, where the threat of economic sanctions has sparked a contentious policy debate. We first examine the political effects of the European Union’s (EU) 2015 decision to label goods produced in the West Bank, and then expand our analysis by employing a survey experiment that allows us to test the differential impact of sanction type and sender identity. We find that the EU’s decision produced a backlash effect, increasing support for hardline policies and raising hostility toward Europe. Our findings further reveal that individuals are likely to support concessions only in the most extreme and unlikely of circumstances—a comprehensive boycott imposed by a sender perceived as a key strategic ally. These results offer theoretical and policy implications for the study of the effects of economic sanctions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Guy Grossman wishes to thank the Christopher H. Brown Center for International Politics at the University of Pennsylvania for its generous support of this study.
We thank Ed Mansfield, Miles Kahler, Stephanie Hofmann, Soo Yeon Kim, Katja Kleinberg, Pablo Pinto, Nikhar Gaikwad, and workshop participants at the University of Pennsylvania, American University, and IDC Herzliya for valuable feedback on earlier drafts. The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Guy Grossman wishes to thank the Christopher H. Brown Center for International Politics at the University of Pennsylvania for its generous support of this study.
© The Author(s) 2018.
- experimental research
- political economy
- subnational politics