Mark Harrison, 14 November 2019

Economic warfare was widely used in WWII. When one country blockaded another’s supply of essential goods or bombed the industries producing them, why did the adversary’s economy fail to collapse? This column, part of the Vox debate on the economics of WWII, reviews Mançur Olson’s insights, which arose from the elementary economic concept of substitution. He concluded that there are no essential goods; there are only essential uses, which can generally be supplied in many ways.

Jamal Ibrahim Haidar, 09 April 2013

The US and EU have imposed severe trade sanctions on Iran. This column uses Iranian exporter-level customs data to show that many Iranian exporters have successfully diverted trade from the US and EU to Asian, African, and Latin American destinations.

Peter A.G. van Bergeijk, 27 March 2012

Can international economic pressure induce policy changes? The conventional wisdom, among economists at least, is that economic sanctions, for all their posturing, won’t achieve very much. For better or worse, this column shows that this is now changing.

Bob Carbaugh, 23 February 2009

The Obama administration is simultaneously imposing economic sanctions on Iran and North Korea and suggesting that it would like to take a more conciliatory approach. This column says that economic sanctions rarely work in altering the behaviour of a target country, especially as a stand-alone tool of foreign policy. That suggests that the new US president is right to use both carrots and sticks.

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