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Despite the abundance of country-specific evidence and policy debate on the humanitarian effects of sanctions, there has not been any cross-national empirical research that examines the human cost of sanctions. In this study, I offer a quantitative analysis of the effect that economic sanctions have on public health conditions in target countries. I use the child mortality rate among under five-year olds as a proxy for health status and utilize time-series cross-nation data for the 1970–2000 period. According to the results, the public health effect of sanctions is largely conditional on the extent to which economic coercion is costly on the target economy. The United States as a sender is also likely to increase the negative impact of sanctions on public health conditions. The economic wealth of target countries is unlikely to play any significant interactive role in mitigating the effect of economic coercion on public health. Similarly, the involvement of an intergovernmental organization (IGO) in sanction imposition has no discernable impact on child mortality.