McGeorge School of Law

Malloy's Economic Sanctions Study Reveals Dismal Results

January 12, 2010

Professor Michael Malloy

Professor Michael Malloy

Professor Michael Malloy released the results of an empirical study on economic sanctions on January 10, 2010, at the Association of American Law Schools' annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, and his surprising findings may impact future use of the controversial international policy tool.

Malloy's paper, "Caught in the Cross-Currents: International Economic Sanctions in Contemporary Practice," reveals that past sanctions have often produced dismal results.

The paper, which was selected by a peer-review committee for presentation at a joint session of the AALS Sections on National Security Law, International Human Rights, and International Law, reports the results of empirical research on the effect of sanctions imposed in response to human rights abuses. In each of the case studies that he analyzed - Zimbabwe/Southern Rhodesia, South Africa, Myanmar, and Belarus - sanctions appeared to have negligible or mixed results, regardless of whether they were imposed multilaterally under UN Security Council mandate or unilaterally under United States sanctions legislation.

"The reason for these results were due to poor sanctions design, lack of commitment on the part of the sanctioning states, or over-reliance on 'smart sanctions' that were so narrowly tailored that they were easily evaded," Malloy said.