Sanctioning violence: The effect of third-party economic coercion on militarized conflict

Timothy M. Peterson, A. Cooper Drury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


While economic sanctions are commonly regarded as nonviolent coercive diplomacy, scholars show that senders-particularly democratic senders-are actually more likely to use military force against the targets of their sanctions. In this article, the authors extend this connection between sanctions and military action by arguing that countries targeted with third-party economic coercion are more likely to be targets of dyadic militarized violence from states not involved in the sanctions. The act of sanctioning, the authors argue, lowers the prohibitions to use violence against the sanctioned state by others. Empirical analysis of dyadic data from 1914 to 2000 shows that, within directed dyads, militarized interstate dispute (MID) initiation is more likely when the potential target of conflict is sanctioned by third-party states, particularly when the sanctioning state is a large democracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)580-605
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • dyadic conflict
  • third parties
  • trade sanctions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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