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Toy Recalls and China: Emotion vs. Evidence

  • Paul W. Beamish (a1) and Hari Bapuji (a2)

Abstract

Product recalls in 2007 raised serious questions about the safety of products made in China and resulted in widespread outrage. Our analysis of toy recalls in the USA between 1988 and 2007 revealed that the vast majority of recalls were due to flaws in product designs, conducted in the corporate headquarters of toy companies, rather than to poor manufacturing by factories in Asian countries. We also found that the recalls have increased over the years, due both to design and manufacturing flaws. Our findings generated widespread interest and influenced the course of debate on import product safety. Our findings and experiences have significant implications for the research on product quality in international operations and the role that systematic research evidence can play in shaping management practice and public debate.

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