Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name



Political Science

First Advisor

Daniel S. Geller


Economic sanctions have been dubbed mainly as ineffective foreign policy tools by political scientists. Despite this, countries continue to use economic sanctions given their less intrusive and offensive nature compared to wars. Therefore, policy-makers have a high stake in learning the critical factors behind effective economic sanctions. Overall, it is understood that an effective sanctions episode compels one state to change its attitude or behavior on an issue, the target state, in line with what another state, sender state, desires. This has given rise to literature known as the determinants of economic sanctions in international political economy. This dissertation contributes to the ongoing study of economic sanctions by introducing a neglected factor, the level of political agreement. This construct refers to the extent to which relevant political actors in a state and international system supports or opposes the sanctions episode. This dissertation has identified three types of political agreements, the sender, the target and the international community. The dissertation sets forth several hypotheses testing the relationship between political agreement levels and economic sanctions outcomes. Utilizing empirical analyses, the dissertation found that higher levels of political agreement in the sender are associated with higher likelihoods for sanctions to be effective. Besides, higher levels of political agreement on the opposition of sanctions in the target state are associated with less effective sanctions. Finally, higher levels of political agreement on the international level are associated with better chances for running an effective sanctions episode.