Manipulating the Market

Understanding Economic Sanctions, Institutional Change, and the Political Unity of White Rhodesia
David M. Rowe
Understanding Economic Sanctions, Institutional Change, and the Political Unity of White Rhodesia


Manipulating the Market provides a new, more fruitful way to study economic sanctions. Instead of asking the traditional question "Do sanctions work?," it uses neoclassical economic theory, the insights of new institutional economics, and an intensive analysis of sanctions in five major Rhodesian markets to explain the more important problem of how target governments and private actors respond to the imposition of economic sanctions.

The Rhodesian crisis was one of Britain's thorniest and most important foreign policy issues in the 1960s and 1970s. The oil embargo caused a major political scandal. Yet the sanctions era, and especially the motives and performance of the white Rhodesian regime, are almost entirely unexplored in the historiography of southern Africa. Manipulating the Market contributes to the study of this period while addressing the broader theoretical question of the utility of economic sanctions.

Economicsanctions are an extremely important but poorly understood instrument of state craft. Without the aid of strong causal theories that explain how and why economic sanctions influence the behavior of target actors, policy makers cannot accurately forecast how these actors will respond to sanctions, assess the tradeoffs that arise from imposing sanctions, or improve their ability to use economic sanctions wisely. Manipulating the Market redresses this shortcoming by showing how economic sanctions generate strong societal demands for new institutions to regulate the market, and how the target government can then exploit these institutions to capture the political loyalty of powerful domestic groups. Without dismissing economic sanctions as a foreign policy tool, the author explains why devastating economic sanctions often strengthen rather than weaken target regimes.

David Rowe is Assistant Professor of Political Science, The Ohio State University.

Praise / Awards

  • ". . . provides a very useful understanding of how economic sanctions affect a target, and how the target may react. . . . Although case studies of sanctions are not new to the literature, Rowe provides strong evidence for a theory that, while not completely generalizable, can be applied to many other sanction cases."
    —A. Cooper Drury, University of Missouri, American Political Science Review, December 2002
  • "This is a well-researched, thoughtful and informative analysis of how and why sanctions functioned against an outlaw regime. . . . Depending on whose ox is being gored, we are routinely informed that sanctions do not work—or they do. This nuanced case study provides ammunition for both schools of thought for it suggests that sanctions can have severe impact on one branch of the economy, while another flourishes."
    —Gerald Horne, H-SAfrica, July 2001

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Copyright © 2001, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 256pp.
  • 3 drawings, 1 table.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2001
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11187-9

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  • $89.95 U.S.