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The Outcome of NGOs' Activism in Developing Countries under Visibility Constraint


  • Lionel Fontagné

    () (PSE - Paris School of Economics, CEPII - Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales - Centre d'analyse stratégique, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Michela Limardi

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris)


Many Developing Countries ratified ILO Fundamental Conventions and authorized local labour unions. Multinational companies producing in these countries pay more when NGOs campaigns take place and reputation counts. However, whether this external pressure from NGOs benefit local workers outside MNEs affiliates in host countries remains an open issue. Segmented and weak local labour unions often rely on external funding from the North and technical assistance by labour NGOs. They need to increase their visibility in the labour intensive sectors targeted by Northern donations and activism. To address these issues we develop a bargaining model adapted to peculiarities of labour market institutions in developing countries, i.e. external funding and the complementarity with labour NGOs. This model is estimated on data on Indonesian manufacturing firms, before and after the authorisation of labour unions, in sensitive and non sensitive sectors. We find that, in sectors with visibility for labour unions, the net outcome on wages of the presence of NGOs is negative. The external fundings imply a distortion in the objective of labour unions, confronted with the constraint of increasing the employment in the formal sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Lionel Fontagné & Michela Limardi, 2011. "The Outcome of NGOs' Activism in Developing Countries under Visibility Constraint," PSE Working Papers halshs-00630096, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00630096
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Boeri, Tito & Helppie, Brooke & Macis, Mario, 2008. "Labor regulations in developing countries : a review of the evidence and directions for future research," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 46306, The World Bank.
    2. Pedro Martins, 2009. "Rent sharing before and after the wage bill," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(17), pages 2133-2151.
    3. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 552-580, June.
    4. Martins, Pedro S. & Esteves, Luiz A., 2006. "Is There Rent Sharing in Developing Countries? Matched-Panel Evidence from Brazil," IZA Discussion Papers 2317, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Aldashev, Gani & Verdier, Thierry, 2009. "When NGOs go global: Competition on international markets for development donations," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 198-210, November.
    7. Ann Harrison & Jason Scorse, 2010. "Multinationals and Anti-sweatshop Activism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 247-273, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Catherine Bodet & Thomas Lamarche, 2013. "La RSE contribue-t-elle au développement durable ?," Working Papers halshs-00912728, HAL.

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    Labour standards; NGOs; Wage determination;

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