Published: June 3, 2021

Migration and Economic Coercion

By: Brendan J Connell, Samantha L Moya, Adrian J Shin


Sender costs of economic sanctions exacerbate the enforcement problem associated with multilateral coercive measures. When third-country sanctioners share strategic interests with the target state, they have commercial and diplomatic incentives to defect from multilateral sanctions arrangements. In addition to these well-documented sender costs, this article argues that migration pressure from the target state has become an important consideration for potential sanctioners. Economic sanctions often increase the economic distress on the target country, which in turn causes more people to migrate to countries where their co-ethnics reside. Countries hosting a large number of nationals from the target country face a disproportionately high level of migration pressure when sanctions increase emigration from the target country. Therefore, policymakers of these countries oppose economic sanctions on the target country as an attempt to preempt further migration. Analyzing the sanctions bills in the European Parliament from 2011 to 2015, we find empirical support for our prediction.

Learn more here: Migration and Economic Coercion