Principle Versus Profit: Debating Human Rights Sanctions
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Economic sanctions are a primary tool the US government and international organizations use to promote human rights abroad, yet they have proven to be largely ineffective and harmful to civilians. There is accumulating evidence that this paradox may be explained by the expressive purposes of sanctions and domestic politics. This article further explores these explanations by examining human rights sanction policy debates. Specifically, I analyzed 27 US Congressional hearings on human rights policy toward China (1990–1999). I argue that moral pressure enabled support for human rights sanctions, high costs fueled opposition to them, and discussions of effectiveness were marginal to the debate. The findings contribute to past studies by (1) identifying the psychological and sociological mechanisms by which legislators circumvent arguments of sanction ineffectiveness and harmfulness and (2) delineating the role of business, human rights, and ethnic interest groups in enabling and constraining support for human rights sanctions.
China; Human rights; Sanctions;
Human Rights Review
DOI of Published Version
Chan, Stephanie T., "Principle Versus Profit: Debating Human Rights Sanctions" (2018). Faculty Articles & Research. 524.