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Journal article Patrick Mello shortlisted for 2023 Bernard Brodie Prize

5 January 2023
The journal article “Unintended Consequences of UN Sanctions” from political scientist Patrick A. Mello (Assistant Professor of International Security at VU Amsterdam) and Katharina L. Meissner (University of Vienna) has been shortlisted for the 2023 Bernard Brodie Prize. The prize is awarded annually by the journal Contemporary Security Policy to the author of an outstanding article published in the journal the previous year.

Sanctions are widely used foreign policy tools in reaction to crises in world politics. “Most research on sanctions focuses on their effectiveness – to find out when and under which conditions sanctions may or may not be reaching their goals. For this article, we focus on the “unintended consequences” of sanctions – regardless of whether the sanctions themselves were effective or not,” says Mello about the perspective of the article.

Unintended consequences include increases in corruption and crime, human rights violations, and strengthened authoritarian rule, among other factors. Mello: “While previous work has also mentioned this, there have been remarkably few empirical studies on this topic.”

“Our article is among the first to use data from the recently introduced Targeted Sanctions Consortium (TSC) to examine the conditions under which negative unintended consequences occur. Our results highlight the negative impact of comprehensive and long-lasting sanctions and the ability of autocratic regimes with economic means to persist unscathed from sanctions. Besides our empirical study with Qualitative Comparative Analysis, we also provide two case illustrations from Haiti and North Korea.”

Mello was thrilled to hear that their article was shortlisted for the 2023 Bernard Brodie Prize. “It’s a prestigious award from a highly ranked journal in international security and previous recipients include seminal articles in the field. I’m also very happy about the recognition for the work that Katharina and I put into this article.”

One of the oldest peer-reviewed journals in international conflict and security, Contemporary Security Policy promotes theoretically-based research on policy problems of armed conflict, intervention and conflict resolution.