Reviews | I researched whether sanctions would work against Russia

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The perfect sanction would penalize Putin and his cronies without harming ordinary Russian citizens or the United States and its allies. Alas, such a sanction does not exist, believes Emily Kilcrease, senior fellow and director of the energy, economics and security program at the Center for a New American Security in Washington.

“We also have to be prepared to take some of that pain,” Kilcrease told me. “We’ve already used the sanctions that don’t cause us much pain,” such as travel bans for Putin’s allies and a ban on providing technology and loans to Russia’s oil and gas sector. New sanctions would hurt companies doing business with Russia and could lead to retaliation. “Western banks need to be prepared for cyberattacks,” Kilcrease said. “There is clearly a scenario here where there is further escalation.”

Russia prepared for the sanctions by building up its stock of foreign exchange reserves. Similarly, the West has prepared, among other things, by asking oil and gas producers to be ready to increase production if necessary to compensate for Russia’s loss of fuel.

The West’s strategy must be a calculated combination of clarity and ambiguity, Kilcrease said. “The thing you want to be clear on is the range of options you’re considering,” she said. On the other hand, she added, “We don’t want to give him the whole playbook because then he might say, ‘Well, we can live with that. We want to leave room for escalation if necessary.


The share of local American daily newspapers owned by private equity funds has increased from around 5% in 2002 to around 23% in 2019. What has been the result? To find out, Michael Ewens of the California Institute of Technology and Arpit Gupta and Sabrina Howell of New York University’s Stern School of Business painstakingly constructed and then analyzed a database of 1,610 newspapers, 262 of which have already owned by private capital.

In a working paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research this month, Ewens, Gupta and Howell conclude that private ownership leads to higher digital circulation and a lower likelihood of newspaper closures. However, they write, “the composition of news is moving away from local governance, the number of journalists and editors is shrinking, and participation in local elections is declining.”

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