Coercion, Information, and the Success of Sanction Threats

Taehee Whang, Elena V. Mclean, Douglas W. Kuberski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores when and why sanction threats succeed in extracting concessions from the targeted country. We focus on two different, albeit not mutually exclusive, mechanisms that can explain the success of sanction threats. The first mechanism relates to incomplete information regarding the sanctioner's determination to impose sanctions and suggests that threats help to extract concessions by revealing the sanctioner's resolve. The second mechanism underscores the direct impact of common interest between the two countries and explains the success of sanction threats by the targeted country's greater dependence on this link between the two countries and the sanctioner's ability to exploit this dependence. We test the hypotheses using a new strategic structural estimator. Our results provide no evidence in favor of the informational hypothesis, while lending robust support for the coercive hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-81
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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