About The Global Sanctions Database (GSDB)
The currently available GSDB covers 729 publicly traceable, multilateral, plurilateral, and purely bilateral sanction cases over the 1950-2016 time period.In an updated version of the GSDB we are working on, the time of coverage has been extended to the year 2019 and contains new cases for a total of 1045. Additionally, the GSDB classifies these sanctions on the basis of three important dimensions. First, by the type(s) of sanctions considered (e.g., trade sanctions vs. financial sanctions vs. travel sanctions, etc.). Second, by the political objective(s) behind the observed sanction(s). In particular, the GSDB systematically groups sanction objectives into distinct categories (e.g., policy change, destabilization of a regime, war prevention, human rights, etc.) of recorded policy objectives. Third, by the perceived degree of success for each identified sanction, captured by five distinct categories ranging from failed sanctions to the target's full acceptance of the sender's demands.
A distinct trait of the GSDB is that it is well-suited to address issues related to bilateral and multilateral linkages in trade relations and the intricate structure of applied sanctions. The GSDB should not be viewed as being designed exclusively for the analysis of issues related to international trade. On the contrary, the GSDB's information on sanctions can be utilized to study their effects in a broad range of areas/fields, including their implications for financial flows, tourism, the determinants of war, and the significance of democratization efforts. What's more, the detailed identification of different types of sanctions in the GSDB may help deepen researchers' understanding of the interplay between different sanctions policies, thereby enabling them to determine which combinations of sanction types are more effective in achieving various policy objectives.
The GSDB's information on sanctions can be utilized to study their effects in a broad range of areas/fields, including their implications for financial flows, tourism, the determinants of war, and the significance of democratization efforts. What's more, the detailed identification of different types of sanctions in the GSDB may help deepen researchers' understanding of the interplay between different sanctions policies, thereby enabling them to determine which combinations of sanction types are more effective in achieving various policy objectives. We hasten to add that the dyadic structure of the dataset can help extract more nuanced information on the nature of interactions, not just among senders and targets, but also among non-sanctioning countries.
The first dimension of the GSDB allows to take a close look at the distribution of applied sanctions by type (e.g., trade versus financial sanctions, mobility etc.), extent of the intervention (e.g., partial versus complete sanctions), and region (e.g., whether sanctions are imposed unilaterally or reciprocally by countries). In addition, the GSDB helps obtain a clear view of the evolution of sanctions over time and relative to each country. We view these features of the GSDB, especially the bilateral structure of recorded sanctions, as salient and indispensable. We think their application can help bridge the current gap in scholarship between the sophisticated developments in empirical trade tools and their application to policy assessments related to the possible costs and benefits of sanctions.
The second dimension of the GSDB, policy objectives of sanctions, is defined on the basis of official declarations, including UN resolutions and/or executive orders. Policy objectives are categorized and can be compared across all years and cases. The database allows a comprehensive analysis e.g. how policy objectives of sanctions have changed over time.
The third dimension of the GSDB documents and assesses the policy outcomes of classified sanctions policy objectives. The achievement of a policy objective is evaluated on the basis of information contained in official government statements or indirect confirmations in international press announcements. Notably, the GSDB permits analysis to track the success rate of sanctions policies over the years under consideration.