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The microeconomics of strategic activism

14 January 2010

Interest groups, most notably environmental organizations, increasingly try to influence the behaviour of consumers and firms. They inform consumers about the (alleged) harmful practices of firms, orchestrate consumer boycotts, bring social issues to the public's attention, and lobby firm executives as well as policy makers. Although the impact of such strategic activism on market outcomes is often considerable, the motives of interest groups to engage in strategic activism are poorly understood. Van der Made’s thesis aims to explain the use of various instruments of strategic activism.

In each chapter a game-theoretic model is developed that sheds light on the use of one particular instrument of strategic activism an interest group might employ. Persuasive advertising, informative advertising, consumer boycotts, and lobbying are considered. It is argued that strategic activism aimed directly at markets is most likely to occur if consumers have (dormant) ‘green preferences’ and firms or consumers lack relevant information about each other. The analyses clarify what kind of markets are the likeliest targets of interest groups, which factors jeopardize an interest group's attempts to alter firm behaviour, and when strategic activism might be a good thing.

Curriculum vitae
Allard van der Made (Leeuwarden, 1976) studied econometrics and mathematics in Groningen. He conducted his research at SOM research school and will be awarded his PhD in economics and business on 21 January (2.45pm). His thesis supervisor is prof.dr. J.L. Moraga-González, and the thesis title: The microeconomics of strategic activism. Currently, Van der Made is post doc at the Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis in Brussels.

Last modified:31 January 2018 11.54 a.m.

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