Do sanctions spell disaster? Economic sanctions, political institutions, and technological safety

Elena V. McLean, Taehee Whang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Sanctions restrict or terminate economic relations between two or more countries, directly and negatively influencing sanctioned countries’ companies. We argue that sanctions are similar to recessions—both reduce economic activity in affected countries. Less economic activity results in a lower accident risk as companies use their productive facilities less. Reduced revenues also force companies to adjust by cutting costs, which includes spending on safety. Hence, accident damage should increase under sanctions. Governments can intervene by enforcing safety regulations, and their incentives to do so are stronger in democracies, where citizens can more easily remove politicians from office. Therefore, accident damage increases only in nondemocratic countries, while democracies succeed in maintaining technological safety and hence sanctions do not affect accident damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-792
Number of pages26
JournalEuropean Journal of International Relations
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sept 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Support for this research was provided by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2016S1A3A2925085).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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