The effects of the Rana Plaza collapse on the sourcing choices of French importers

Pamina Koenig and Sandra Poncet
2022
DOI number
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022199622000083
#Trade and FDI
#South Asia
#EU / Western Europe
#Sustainability standards

Additional info: Article published in the Journal of International Economics

This paper analyzes the effects of a major reputational shock affecting textile importers from Bangladesh. The collapse of the Rana Plaza building in April 2013 generated a surge of activism and media coverage specifically targeting the firms that sourced from the factories affected by the disaster. Using monthly firm-level import data from French Customs, we study any potential disruption in these firms’ imports from all origins, and specifically from Bangladesh. We use a difference-in-differences approach. French textile imports from Bangladesh rose continuously after the shock, and the overall imports of retailers sourcing from the Rana Plaza show no drop after the event. Our results do reveal a relative decline in Bangladeshi imports for those retailers named for sourcing from the collapsed factories. This effect is mirrored by a relative increase in these exposed firms’ imports from four particular countries, which are non-Asian and are geographically closer to France.

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