Sanctions – do they work and who do they hurt?

3 May 2017

With the atrocities of the civil war in Syria and the threat of nuclear attacks by North Korea, we have heard many calls for economic sanctions of late.  But do sanctions work and who do they really affect?  Recent research by Associate Professor Renuka Mahadevan et al  has shown that economic sanctions only ever make the poor poorer and the richer richer.  In other words, they do not work to control the actions of the ruling classes and only tend to make conditions worse for the citizens at the bottom of the social ladder who the sanctions are often trying to protect.

Furthermore, these results find that while the UN may often call for sanctions against rogue states, such sanctions tend to act against the UN’s own Sustainable Development Goals which aim to reduce inequality. 

You can read the full paper here.