Mikhail Mamonov, Anna Pestova, Steven Ongena, 10 June 2021

Financial sanctions against Russia’s state-owned and controlled banks were imposed consecutively between 2014 and 2019, allowing banks that would potentially be targeted in the future to adjust their international and domestic exposures. This column explores the informational effects of financial sanctions, showing that compared to similar private banks, ‘not yet sanctioned’ financial institutions immediately reduced their foreign assets while, rather unexpectedly, expanding their foreign liabilities. These informational effects crucially depend on geography, with targeted banks located further from Moscow decreasing their foreign assets by more and raising foreign liabilities by less than those located near the Kremlin. 

Gabriel Felbermayr, Aleksandra Kirilakha, Constantinos Syropoulos, Erdal Yalcin, Yoto Yotov, 18 May 2021

While the world experienced a golden age of international economic integration in the 1990s and the 2000s, in the more recent past there has been an emergence of interstate political conflicts, political polarisation, and extensive use of coercive sanctions intended to limit the international movement of goods, assets, and people. This column presents findings from the newly updated Global Sanctions Data Base, which now includes the years of the Trump presidency and provides a more comprehensive coverage of 1,101 sanction cases in the years from 1950 to 2019.

Matthieu Crozet, Julian Hinz, Amrei Stammann, Joschka Wanner, 05 March 2021

Sanctions are imposed on a target country to exert political and economic pressure. But there is little evidence on how exporting firms regard trade with the sanctioned country. This column uses detailed monthly customs data from French firms to investigate the extensive margin of trade in episodes of sanctions-use against Iran, Russia, Cuba, and Myanmar. It finds the impact of sanctions is heterogeneous along firm dimensions and advises caution in the use of a policy tool with imprecise and unpredictable results.

Matěj Bělín, Jan Hanousek, 29 April 2019

The annexation of the Crimean peninsula by the Russian Federation in 2014 led to sanctions by the US and the EU, among others, and counter-sanctions by Russia. This column estimates that the value of trade lost due to Western sanctions over 2014-2016 amounts to $1.3 billion, while trade lost due to the Russian counter-sanctions amounts to $10.5 billion. There appears to be no evidence that Russian importers switched between suppliers from sanctioning countries to competitors from non-sanctioning countries.

Matthieu Crozet, Julian Hinz, 05 July 2016

Economic sanctions serve as a foreign policy tool, but they can also hurt domestic firms doing business in the target country. This column looks at the effects of sanctions imposed by 37 countries on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. The estimated loss of exports to Russia totalled $3.2 billion per month between December 2013 and June 2015. This loss was mostly incurred by European economies and in products not targeted by retaliations. French firm-level data points to a deterioration of trade finance services as the dominant mechanism.

John Armour, Colin Mayer, Andrea Polo, 24 March 2016

Following the Global Crisis, regulators around the world have shown a greater commitment to investigating and sanctioning corporate wrongdoers. This column argues that fines are only one (surprisingly small) component of the overall sanctions available to regulators. Reputational sanctions are, for some categories of misconduct, far more potent than direct penalties.

Yiqun Chen, Frank Sloan, 15 December 2014

Driving while intoxicated is a serious problem in the US. What policymakers disagree about is how best to discourage drunk driving. This column argues that the perceived risk for detection has a deterrent effect on drunk driving. Harsher sanctions do not convey the desired effect if the perceived risk for detection is low. The best policy thus should increase the probability of detection or manipulate peoples’ beliefs for such a risk.

Yong-Suk Lee, 06 November 2014

How does an autocratic regime domestically counter the impact of economic sanctions? This column studies the impact of sanctions on North Korea using satellite night-time lights data and finds that the burden of sanctions falls on the vulnerable population and not the elites in power towards whom the sanctions are aimed. Sanctions that fail to change the leader’s behaviour likely increase inequality at a cost to the already marginalised hinterlands.

Aasim Husain, Anna Ilyina, Li Zeng, 29 August 2014

The conflict in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia have already affected the Russian financial markets. This column discusses the repercussions for the rest of Europe of possible disruptions in the trade and financial flows with Russia. Eastern European countries could be seriously affected by a slowdown in the Russian economy due to their close links with Russia. Western countries – despite having looser links with it – could also experience significant effects. 

Peter A.G. van Bergeijk, 25 April 2014

In reaction to the Crimean crisis, the EU imposed certain sanctions on Russia. Russia responded by blacklisting EU and US officials. This column discusses the comparative vulnerability of the EU and Russia amid this tit for tat pattern. In purely economic terms, the EU is in a much better position than Russia. However, political regimes also matter. The autocracy score for Russia dampens the impact that the economic sanctions would have politically. The democratic nature of the European governments would translate the sanctions imposed by Russia into great political pressure for the EU. This makes the Russian tit for tat threat realistic.

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