Sophie Hatte, Pamina Koenig · 2018
The World Bank Economic Review · Oxford University Press (OUP)

The Geography of NGO Activism against Multinational Corporations

To what extent do Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) monitor global value chains? While NGOs regularly denounce the behavior of multinational corporations throughout the world, their motivations for choosing campaign targets remain largely unknown. Using a new dataset on activists’ campaigns toward multinational firms, we estimate a triadic gravity equation for campaigns, involving the NGO, firm, and action countries. Our results point to a strong proximity bias in NGO activity: Distance, national borders, and lack of a common language all contribute to impede the intensity of campaigns. We estimate the distance elasticity of campaigns to be −0.2 and further document that NGOs strongly bias their actions toward home firms or foreign firms with home actions. A domestic firm is 3.45 times more likely to be attacked than a foreign one. Foreign firms headquartered in common language countries draw 1.63 times more campaigns. Overall, campaigns seem to be designed so as to include at least one element of proximity drawing the attention of consumers. This pattern questions the role of NGOs in the monitoring of multinational production operated in remote, unfamiliar locations.

Full publication is available on: DOI 10.1093/wber/lhy007

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Pamina Koenig

Pamina Koenig
University of Rouen & Paris School of Economics

Pamina Koenig is a Professor of Economics at the University of Rouen and an Associate Researcher at Paris School of Economics. Her research interests are in international trade, trade policies and the political economy of NGOs. She has published in leading academic journals. Professor Koenig holds a PhD in Economics from the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne and a Master’s Degree in Economics from Université Libre de Bruxelles.

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