Bilateral Relations in a Context of Geopolitical Change
Edited by Peter A.G. van Bergeijk and Selwyn J.V. Moons
Chapter 15: Soft power, sanctions and exports: checking the BS in BDS
The author examines the trade effect of soft power (global influence considered to be admirable by other countries) using a standard gravity model of bilateral exports, a panel of data for 1998–2013, and an annual survey conducted for the BBC by GlobeScan which asks people in up to 46 countries about whether each of up to 17 countries were perceived to have “a mainly positive or negative influence in the world”. Holding other things constant, a country’s exports are significantly higher if it is perceived by the importer to be exerting more positive global influence. This effect does not vary much across time, but does across countries. In particular, the exports of Israel and North Korea are more, and the United States and Russia are less affected by soft power. This stands in comparison to the non-effect of sanctions on trade. Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions is abbreviated to BDS in the chapter. Succinctly, even if the S in BDS is BS, the B is not.
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