This paper addresses a new issue in sanctions research: the determinants of the time it takes for nations to return to presanctions levels of trade after a sanctions episode ends. The authors argue that democratic institutions reduce transaction costs and promote trust between economic agents. Their primary hypothesis is that jointly democratic dyads return to their presanctions level of trade faster than nonjointly democratic dyads. To evaluate this argument, the authors have constructed an event history data set of 59 sanctions cases beginning between 1954 and 1992. The empirical analysis finds strong support for the theoretical hypothesis that democratic political institutions facilitate a return to trade. These results hold even in the presence of competing explanations, and are robust to alternative model specifications.