PhD defence of Madesta Lede on Thursday 19 December 2013

Madesta Lede will defend her dissertation on 19 December 2013 at 15.30 hours. Her supervisor is Professor Philip Hans Franses (Erasmus School of Economics). Other members of the Doctoral Committee are Professor Han Bleichrodt, Professor Dinand Webbink (both of Erasmus School of Economics) and Professor Peter Verhoef (University of Groningen).

Time and location

The PhD defence will take place in the Senate Hall of Erasmus University Rotterdam (campus Woudestein) and will start at 15.30 hrs.

About the dissertation

This study on the adoption of (demand for) counterfeit goods in a developing country mainly considers this phenomenon for the South-American country Suriname. Suriname is selected, as this country has a developing economy, and because of the limited availability of information for developing countries. Investigating counterfeits in Suriname is also interesting as consumer-specific data from this country can be used to compare against such data for the Netherlands, a country with a developed economy. Suriname and the Netherlands have a long relationship, and 30% - 40% of all Surinamese individuals live in the Netherlands. In addition, even though most of the Dutch people of Surinamese origin are generally well integrated in the Dutch society, they still retain a relationship with the country of origin (and their family members). Hence, this creates the opportunity to compare data from these two countries for this research purpose.

The most important findings of study 1 are that counterfeit products do not eventually take over and fully wipe out the market for original products, and that in the end sales of originals and of counterfeits are about equal. Therefore, the demand for original products remains to exist. The second study showed that counterfeit drugs and other medical products will eventually make up around 40% of the total shipments in Suriname. It is also found that original and counterfeit medical products each address a distinct market segment. Study 3 showed that Surinamese people in the Netherlands have assimilated rather well in the Netherlands and they showed similarities with the Dutch people. At the same time, the norms and values of Surinamese in the Netherlands are broadly the same as the people in Suriname. In addition, and quite saliently, the attitudes towards purchasing counterfeit products and even the factual purchasing behaviour of Surinamese people in the Netherlands and in Suriname are also broadly similar, therefore leading to conclude that cultural norms seem to be a key driver for consumer purchase of counterfeit products.The main findings of the fourth study are that the more product information consumers have available to identify a medicine as SFFC medication and the more confidence consumers have in the quality of the official distribution channel, the lesser their suspicion of having received SFFCs through an official channel. In addition, having more product information available for original medication leads to a smaller probability of purchasing SFFC medication. At the same time a higher degree of suspicion of having received SFFCs through the official channel also leads to a higher probability of the purchase of SFFCs. The latter result seems to suggest that once people suspect that they are about to obtain SFFC medication through the official channel, they do not stop purchasing these counterfeit medicines. Finally, people who are confident that based on the product information they can learn whether the medication is original are found to be more alert when obtaining medicines. The fifth and final study showed that threatening health messages appeared to be most effective and also best understood by consumers. Also, relatively more people stated that they ‘intend to be more careful not to use counterfeit medication’ as a reaction to this message.

About Madesta Lede

Madesta M. Lede was born on 22 June 22 in Paramaribo, Suriname.

In February 2007 she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Economics with a major in Marketing at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Anton de Kom University of Suriname. In that same year she was one of the selected few who received a scholarship in order to obtain a master’s degree from Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). This was part of a partnership of Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) with the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Anton de Kom University of Suriname (AdeKUS), as a means to strengthen the scientific staff of the AdeKUS. 

In 2008 Madesta obtained her master’s degree in Economics and Business with a specialisation in Marketing at ESE.

After returning to Suriname, she has been appointed deputy researcher at the AdeKUS in 2009. In this same year she started her research project in order to obtain her Ph.D. under the guidance of Professor Philip Hans Franses of ESE.

Abstract of 'Consumer Adoption of Counterfeit Products in a Developing Country'

With an increase in global trade, currently involving almost all countries in the world (expect for a few autarkic ones), there is a growing interest in studying various aspects of trade in counterfeit products. As almost every type of good has been counterfeited (and/or pirated) over the years, and the numbers are believed to further increase (OECD 2007b; Dixon and Greenhalgh 2002), and given that virtually every economy has to deal with counterfeit and or pirated products, (OECD 2007-b), this thesis investigates consumer adoption of counterfeit (SFFC) products. By investigating the adoption of counterfeit goods in a developing country, we aim to provide new empirical. We also aim to enhance and refine the existing knowledge and understanding, and hence increase the possibilities to battle against the purchase and use of counterfeit products, especially SFFC medicines. We study the diffusion processes for original and counterfeit products (including medical products) and investigate the influence of cultural norms on consumer purchases of counterfeits. Additionally, we study how aware individual consumers were when purchasing medication in the past, and how their current attention for SFFC medicines is when they purchase (obtain) their medication, as well as their attitudes towards SFFC medication. Finally, we study two different types of health messages which could be used in awareness campaigns, against the purchase and use of SFFC medicines.

More information

For more information about this ceremony, please contact Ronald de Groot, Communication Officer of the Erasmus School of Economics phone +31 10 408 1762 or by e-mail:

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