Public Support for Economic Sanctions: An Experimental Analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • © The Author (2016). What are the determinants of public support for the government’s foreign policy? We shed light on this question using experiments investigating public support for economic sanctions. Our results suggest that humanitarian concerns are associated with individuals’ decisions to support the use of sanctions against a target country. We find that high levels of public pain in the target country have a negative relationship with the likelihood of supporting sanctions, and tailored sanctions, which aim to shift damage from the targeted country’s population to its leadership, have a higher probability of support than comprehensive sanctions. At the same time, policy effectiveness shapes public support, but only indirectly—through individuals’ subjective evaluations rather than given estimates of policy success. When subjective evaluations of effectiveness are higher, sanctions receive more public support. Recalled effectiveness, on the other hand, has no direct effect on the decision to support the sanction policy.

author list (cited authors)

  • McLean, E. V., & Roblyer, D. A.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016 11:11 AM