How do sanctions affect government support in an autocratic setting? : A case study of Iran
Sammanfattning: Sanctions are presumed to work on the logic of a cost/benefit analysis, where the actors make concessions in response to induced pressure from the public who demands policy change because of hardened living conditions. The literature regarding sanctions effect on policy change are numerous, but less research has been made on what effects follow in domestic politics when sanctions are lifted. The theory of economic voting explains how voters reward or punish their leaders depending on the economic performance of the country. Most studies have focused on democratic developed countries, but this research will extend the theories to an autocratic setting. This essay fills a gap in the literature by a applying case study approach to a field of work that is largely dominated by quantitative research designs. Through a case of structured focused comparison of two periods where sanctions are implemented and then lifted, this essay is able to show that for the case of Iran, the coercive measures had an impact on support for the government. The public rewarded the incumbent for good performance when the sanctions were lifted, which confirms earlier findings that voter behavior in autocratic countries are similar to those in democracies. The economy is here shown to be of importance for regime approval, but more research is needed on what affects support for governments in non-consolidated democracies.
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