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Globalization, Credence Goods and International Civil Society

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  • Krautheim, Sebastian
  • Verdier, Thierry

Abstract

The process of globalization is characterized by an impressive growth in global value chains, as well as the proliferation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) interacting with production and sourcing decisions of multinational firms. In this paper, we present a simple North-South model of international trade allowing for the joint emergence of firm offshoring to South and NGO activism financed by donations from the civil society. In our model northern consumers care about unobservable “credence” characteristics of goods such as the environmental and social impact of production. The analysis highlights a complementarity between the growth of global value chains and the emergence of NGOs: for a range of trade costs potential NGO emergence allows firms to capture gains from globalization, which would otherwise be unattainable. We show that, somewhat paradoxically, when offshoring triggers NGO emergence, this can be at the expense of the consumers, who for a range of trade costs, would be better-off in a world without NGOs. In an extension we show that NGOs may also crowd out investment in regulatory capacities in low cost countries, as consumers in North have a willingness to fund NGOs providing a substitute for regulation in South.

Suggested Citation

  • Krautheim, Sebastian & Verdier, Thierry, 2012. "Globalization, Credence Goods and International Civil Society," CEPR Discussion Papers 9232, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9232
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gani Aldashev & Michela Limardi & Thierry Verdier, 2013. "Watchdogs of the Invisible Hand: NGO Monitoring, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Industry Equilibrium," Working Papers 1404, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
    2. Aldashev, Gani & Limardi, Michela & Verdier, Thierry, 2015. "Watchdogs of the Invisible Hand: NGO monitoring and industry equilibrium," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 28-42.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Globalization; Multinationals; NGOs; Regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • F61 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Microeconomic Impacts
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship

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