History and Country-of-Origin Effects

Marketing Science, forthcoming

49 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2019 Last revised: 12 Jan 2023

See all articles by Nan Chen

Nan Chen

National University of Singapore

Zemin (Zachary) Zhong

University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management

Date Written: January 11, 2023


We study how the history of foreign invasion affects consumers' country-of-origin (COO) choices in the context of the Chinese automotive market. Our research design exploits two natural experiments: (i) the Imperial Japanese Army's Continental Cross-Through Operation in 1944 in China, which created local variations in war losses and casualties, and (ii) the China-Japan conflict over the sovereignty disputes in 2012 that renewed the salience of the history of the Japanese invasion. Using a discrete-choice model, we find that, after the 2012 conflict, the history of invasion has a negative effect on the brand preference of Japanese cars and a positive effect on Chinese cars. The effects translate to a 6.8% decline and a 5.3% increase in the sales of Japanese and Chinese cars in invaded counties compared to neighboring non-invaded counties, despite similar pre-trends. Both effects persisted for more than 24 months. The heterogeneous effects show rich managerial implications: the history effects are stronger for higher-priced and larger cars, as well as more recognizably Japanese or Chinese cars. Creating local independent brands helps foreign brands to take advantage of the history effect. We also explore the mechanism and find supporting evidence for memory transmission as well as the role of local protests as a mediator of the history effect.

Keywords: Country of Origin, Brand, History, Political Economy, China

JEL Classification: D73, P16, H70, L62

Suggested Citation

Chen, Nan and Zhong, Zemin (Zachary), History and Country-of-Origin Effects (January 11, 2023). Marketing Science, forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3326975 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3326975

Nan Chen

National University of Singapore ( email )

21 Lower Kent Ridge Rd
Singapore, 117417

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/ttnanchen

Zemin (Zachary) Zhong (Contact Author)

University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George St.
Rotman School of Management
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6

HOME PAGE: http://zacharyzhong.com

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics