March 18, 2020
Article number: 20190043
When economic sanctions are directed against a target state by a sender state, the sender obviously wants third countries to participate with the sanctions and can apply pressure on them to prevent sanctions busting behaviour. But why does sanctions busting vary, so that the target’s trade with some third-countries increases but with others decreases? In this paper I offer two improvements to the analysis of sanctions busting: a theoretical framework that recognises how the effects of covariates on sanctions busting can only be identified if we treat them as more conditional than previous studies have done, and a gravity model that captures these conditional effects while also addressing several common specification errors. Applying these improvements to data for 1950–2006 significantly alters some of the central findings contained in previous research about sanctions busting.