Fairtrade and market failures in agricultural commodity markets
AbstractThis paper concerns an NGO intervention in agricultural commodity markets known as Fairtrade. Fairtrade pays producers a minimum unit price and provides capacity building support to member cooperative organizations. Fairtrade's organizational capacity support targets those factors believed to reduce the commodity producer's share of returns. Specifically, Fairtrade justifies its intervention in markets like coffee by claiming that market power and a lack of capacity in producer organizations'marks down'the prices producers receive. As the market share of Fairtrade coffee grows in importance, its intervention in commodity markets is of increasing interest. Using an original data set collected from fieldwork in Costa Rica, this paper assesses the role of Fairtrade in overcoming the market factors it claims limits producer returns. Features of the Costa Rican input market for coffee permit a generalization of the results. The empirical results find that market power is a limiting factor in the Costa Rican market and that Fairtrade does improve the efficiency of cooperatives, thereby increasing the returns to producers. These results do not depend on the minimum price policy of Fairtrade and therefore can inform on its organizational support activities. Finally, the results also suggest that producers selling to vertically integrated, multinational coffee mills face lower producer price'mark-downs'compared with domestically owned non-cooperative mills. This result contradicts the popular view that the increasing concentration of vertically integrated multinational firms accounts for a decline in producers'share of coffee returns.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4011.
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Markets and Market Access; Crops&Crop Management Systems; Access to Markets; Commodities; Economic Theory&Research;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Margaret McMillan & Dani Rodrik & Karen Horn Welch, 2002.
"When Economic Reform Goes Wrong: Cashews in Mozambique,"
NBER Working Papers
9117, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- McMillan, Margaret & Rodrik, Dani & Welch, Karen Horn, 2002. "When Economic Reform Goes Wrong: Cashews in Mozambique," Working Paper Series rwp02-028, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
- Horn Welch, Karen & McMillan, Margaret & Rodrik, Dani, 2002. "When Economic Reform Goes Wrong: Cashews in Mozambique," CEPR Discussion Papers 3519, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Carlos Arnade & Daniel Pick, 2000. "Seasonal oligopoly power: the case of the US fresh fruit market," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(8), pages 969-977.
- Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1989. "Markets, Market Failures, and Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 197-203, May.
- Paul J. Driscoll & S. Murthy Kambhampaty & Wayne D. Purcell, 1997. "Nonparametric Tests of Profit Maximization in Oligopoly with Application to the Beef Packing Industry," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(3), pages 872-879.
- Green, Edward J & Porter, Robert H, 1984.
"Noncooperative Collusion under Imperfect Price Information,"
Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 87-100, January.
- Green, Edward J. & Porter, Robert H., 1982. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Working Papers 367, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Edward J Green & Robert H Porter, 1997. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1147, David K. Levine.
- A. M. Azzam & E. Pagoulatos, 1990. "Testing Oligopolistic And Oligopsonistic Behaviour: An Application To The Us Meat-Packing Industry," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(3), pages 362-370.
- Kellie Curry Raper & Corinna Noelke, 2004. "Determining market power exertion between buyers and sellers: are nonparametrics a viable alternative?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(20), pages 2265-2274.
- Laura T. Raynolds & Douglas Murray & Peter Leigh Taylor, 2004. "Fair trade coffee: building producer capacity via global networks," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(8), pages 1109-1121.
- Schroeter, John R, 1988.
"Estimating the Degree of Market Power in the Beef Packing Industry,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 70(1), pages 158-62, February.
- Schroeter, John R., 1988. "Estimating the Degree of Market Power in the Beef Packing Industry," Staff General Research Papers 11114, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
- Sumner, Daniel A, 1981. "Measurement of Monopoly Behavior: An Application to the Cigarette Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 1010-19, October.
- Bohman, Mary & Jarvis, Lovell & Barichello, Richard, 1996. "Rent Seeking and International Commodity Agreements: The Case of Coffee," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 379-404, January.
- Varian, Hal R, 1983. "Non-Parametric Tests of Consumer Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 99-110, January.
- Powell, Andrew, 1991.
"Commodity and Developing Country Terms of Trade: What Does the Long Run Show?,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(409), pages 1485-96, November.
- Powell, A., 1989. "Commodity And Developing Country Terms Of Trade, What Does The Long Run Show?," Economics Series Working Papers 9980, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Lopez, Rigoberto A. & You, Zhikang, 1993. "Determinants of oligopsony power : The Haitian coffee case," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 275-284, August.
- Schroeter, John R. & Azzam, Azzeddine M., 1991.
"Implications of Increased Regional Concentration and Oligopsonistic Coordination in the Beef Packing Industry,"
Staff General Research Papers
11109, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
- Azzam, Azzeddine M. & Schroeter, John R., 1991. "Implications Of Increased Regional Concentration And Oligopsonistic Coordination In The Beef Packing Industry," Western Journal of Agricultural Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 16(02), December.
- Saxonhouse, Gary R, 1977. "Regressions from Samples Having Different Characteristics," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 59(2), pages 234-37, May.
- Appelbaum, Elie, 1982. "The estimation of the degree of oligopoly power," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 287-299, August.
- Giovannucci, Daniele & Koekoek, Freek Jan, 2003. "The State of Sustainable Coffee: A Study of Twelve Major Markets," MPRA Paper 17172, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Azzam, Azzeddine M, 1997. "Measuring Market Power and Cost-Efficiency Effects of Industrial Concentration," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(4), pages 377-86, December.
- Roeger, Werner, 1995. "Can Imperfect Competition Explain the Difference between Primal and Dual Productivity Measures? Estimates for U.S. Manufacturing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 316-30, April.
- McCorriston, Steve, 1993. "The Welfare Implications of Oligopoly in Agricultural Input Markets," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 20(1), pages 1-17.
- Cuddington, John T & Urzua, Carlos M, 1989. "Trends and Cycles in the Net Barter Terms of Trade: A New Approach," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(396), pages 426-42, June.
- repec:cdl:agrebk:677098 is not listed on IDEAS
- Jorge Quiróz & Raimundo Soto, . "International Price Signals in Agricultural Markets: DoGovernments Care?," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv088, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
- Mosheim, Roberto, 2002. "Organizational Type and Efficiency in the Costa Rican Coffee Processing Sector," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 296-316, June.
- Gilbert, Christopher L., 1995. "International commodity control : retrospect and prospect," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1545, The World Bank.
- Carolyn Strong, 1997. "The Role Of Fair Trade Principles Within Sustainable Development," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(1), pages 1-10.
- Steve McCorriston, 2002. "Why should imperfect competition matter to agricultural economists?," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 29(3), pages 349-371, July.
- Mundlak, Yair & Larson, Donald F, 1992. "On the Transmission of World Agricultural Prices," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 6(3), pages 399-422, September.
- Afriat, Sidney N, 1972. "Efficiency Estimation of Production Function," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(3), pages 568-98, October.
- Cardenas, Mauricio, 1994. "Stabilization and redistribution of coffee revenues: A political economy model of commodity marketing boards," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 351-380, August.
- Craig Gallet, 1996. "Mergers and market power in the US steel industry," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(4), pages 221-223.
- Raper, Kellie Curry & Love, H. Alan & Shumway, C. Richard, 1998. "Distinguishing The Source Of Market Power: An Application To Cigarette Manufacturing," Faculty Paper Series 24021, Texas A&M University, Department of Agricultural Economics.
- Schroeter, John R. & Azzam, Azzeddine M., 1991. "Marketing Margins, Market Power, and Price Uncertainty," Staff General Research Papers 11110, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
- P. B. R. Hazell & M. Jaramillo & A. Williamson, 1990. "The Relationship Between World Price Instability And The Prices Farmers Receive In Developing Countries," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 227-241.
- Atkinson, Scott E & Kerkvliet, Joe, 1989. "Dual Measures of Monopoly and Monopsony Power: An Application to Regulated Electric Utilities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(2), pages 250-57, May.
- Hong Liang & C. John McDermott & Paul Cashin, 1999.
"How Persistent Are Shocks to World Commodity Prices?,"
IMF Working Papers
99/80, International Monetary Fund.
- Paul Cashin & Hong Liang & C. John McDermott, 2000. "How Persistent Are Shocks to World Commodity Prices?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 47(2), pages 2.
- L Bettendorf & F Verboven, 2000. "Incomplete transmission of coffee bean prices: evidence from The Netherlands," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 27(1), pages 1-16, March.
- Grilli, Enzo R & Yang, Maw Cheng, 1988. "Primary Commodity Prices, Manufactured Goods Prices, and the Terms of Trade of Developing Countries: What the Long Run Shows," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 2(1), pages 1-47, January.
- Hanoch, Giora & Rothschild, Michael, 1972. "Testing the Assumptions of Production Theory: A Nonparametric Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 256-75, March-Apr.
- LeClair, Mark S., 2002. "Fighting the Tide: Alternative Trade Organizations in the Era of Global Free Trade," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 949-958, June.
- Barham, Bradford L. & Callenes, Mercedez & Gitter, Seth & Lewis, Jessa & Weber, Jeremy, 2011. "Fair Trade/Organic Coffee, Rural Livelihoods, and the "Agrarian Question": Southern Mexican Coffee Families in Transition," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 134-145, January.
- Balineau, Gaëlle, 2013. "Disentangling the Effects of Fair Trade on the Quality of Malian Cotton," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 241-255.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.