Washington is moving ahead with new sanctions against Russia for interference in the 2016 U.S. election. North Korea and Iran also face more sanctions over their nuclear and ballistic-missile programs, while Venezuela is under fire for human-rights abuses. But are economic sanctions effective?
It is often difficult to disentangle the economic effects of sanctions from broader market forces. Financial and trade sanctions can amplify economic headwinds or damp tailwinds, but even extensive trade embargoes sometimes fail to change behavior. Here is a sampling of notable sanctions. Some forced policy changes. Some didn’t.