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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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publication
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.

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publication
Social responsibility scandals and trade

This paper studies the effect of social responsibility scandals on the imports of consumer products, by focusing on an event which generated massive consumer mobilization against neglecting firms, namely the collapse of the Rana Plaza building affecting the textile industry in Bangladesh. We investigate the import repercussions of this major shock in the perceived quality of clothing producers sourcing in Bangladesh. In line with the well-documented home bias in trade and home-country media slant, we assume that consumers’ reaction will be stronger when domestic firms are named and shamed. Our empirical strategy uses a difference-in-difference approach that compares imports from Bangladesh of countries according to whether some of their companies were directly associated with the collapse of the Rana Plaza. Our results are consistent with demand being sensitive to social responsibility scandals. While aggregate imports from Bangladesh continue to increase during the whole period (2010–2016), there is a marked disruption that affects countries whose brands were named and shamed by activists and the media after the disaster. In addition, the decline in imports is all the greater as the number of NGO campaigns on the misbehavior of national textile retailers is high.

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publication
Reputation and (un)fair trade: Effects on French importers from the Rana Plaza collapse

This paper analyzes the effects of a major reputational shock affecting textile importers fromBangladesh. The collapse of the Rana Plaza building in April 2013 generated a surge of activismand media coverage specifically targeting the firms that sourced from the factories affected bythe disaster. Using monthly firm-level import data from French Customs, we ask whether therewas any disruption in these firms’ imports from all origins, and specifically from Bangladesh.We use a difference-in-differences approach and control for common determinants of supply anddemand. French textile imports from Bangladesh rose continuously after the shock, and theoverall imports of retailers sourcing from the Rana Plaza show no drop after the event. Howeverour results do reveal a relative decline in Bangladeshi imports for those retailers sourcing fromthe factories in the collapsed building. Last, this effect is mirrored by a relative increase in theseexposed firms’ imports from three particular countries, all of which are non-Asian and locatedclose to the Mediterranean area.

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