Research Seminar

Sanctions' Impact on Elections: The Russian Case – Robert Gold

14 Mar 2023


Robert Gold (IfW and CESifo)


Do economic sanctions affect internal support of sanctioned countries' governments? To answer this question, we focus on the sanctions imposed on Russia in 2014 and identify their effect on voting behavior in both presidential and parliamentary elections. On the economic side, the sanctions significantly hurt Russia's foreign trade, but with regional-level variation. We use trade losses caused by the sanctions as measure for regional sanction exposure. For identification, we rely on a structural gravity model that allows us to compare observed trade flows to counterfactual flows in the absence of sanctions. DiD-estimations reveal that regime support significantly increases in response to the sanctions, at the expense of voting support of Communist parties. For the average Russian district, sanction exposure increases the vote share gained by president Putin and his party by 13 percent. Event studies and placebo estimations confirm the validity of our results.


Robert Gold (IfW and CESifo) – Julian Hinz (Bielefeld University and IfW) – Michele Valsecchi (NES)


Lecture Hall (A-032)