The Ambiguous Outcome of NGOsâ€™ Activism in Developing Countries
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 sector 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.
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