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Income Content of the World Coffee Exports


  • Orlando Monteiro da Silva


  • Carlos Antonio Leite



Coffee is the most widely commercialized tropical product on the international market. The 2009/10 crop had an estimated value of $15.4 billion, with 93.4 million bags exported. According to the International Coffee Organization (ICO, 2011), the coffee sector employed around 26 million people in 56 producing countries and over 100 exporting countries. But how would coffee products rank, in terms of income content, in relation to other commercialized products, and how have they evolved? To answer this question, the annual income content of 5,111 products exported by 167 countries from the period between 2000 and 2009, was calculated. Data from the UNCOMTRADE (2011), and “sophistication” indicators proposed by Hausmann and Rodrik (2003) who classify different products according to their productivity, were used. An emphasis was put on five coffee products (whole grain, roasted, decaffeinated, caffeinated, and soluble), showing the evolution of the number of exporting countries and of the “sophistication” index (income content), whose temporal variation was decomposed by the effects of competitiveness and income per capita changes. The results showed that non-roasted, non-decaffeinated, whole grain coffee is still the most commercialized product, but with the lowest income content of all coffee products, occupying the twenty-fourth worst position in terms of income content in 2009. The roasted, decaffeinated coffee presented the greatest income growth in the period, placing itself in the 3,309th position in 2009. The decomposition of the index showed that for coffee products with the most processing, the greatest cause of export sophistication growth was the Revealed Comparative Advantage effect. Products with the least amount of processing presented a loss in relative market share, with the addition of values to the production chain occurring outside those countries producing the raw materials. Income Content of the World Coffee Exports El café es el producto tropical más comercializado en el mercado internacional. La cosecha de 2009/10 fue estimada en 15,4 mil millones de dólares, con 93,4 millones de sacos exportados. Según la Organización Internacional del Café (ICO, 2011), el sector cafetero ha empleado alrededor de 26 millones de personas en 56 países productores y en más de 100 países exportadores. Sin embargo, ¿cómo los tipos de café podrían ser clasificados, en cuanto al ingreso, en relación a otros productos comercializados, y cómo han evolucionado? Para contestar a esta pregunta, se han calculado los ingresos anuales de 5.111 productos exportados por 167 países en el período comprendido entre 2000 y 2009. Los datos fueron obtenidos a través del UNCOMTRADE (2011), y se han utilizado los indicadores de "sofisticación" propuestos por Hausmann y Rodrik (2003) que clasifican los diferentes productos en función de sus productividades. Se hizo especial hincapié en cinco tipos de café (grano entero, tostado, descafeinado, con cafeína y soluble), que muestra la evolución del número de países exportadores y del índice de "sofisticación" (relacionado a los ingresos), cuya variación temporal se ha descompuesto por los efectos de la competitividad y por los cambios en la renta per cápita. Los resultados mostraron que el café sin tostar, con cafeína y de grano entero sigue siendo el más comercializado, pero presenta el nivel más bajo de ingreso de todos los tipos de café, ocupando el vigésimo cuarto puesto de peor nivel de ingreso en 2009. El café tostado y descafeinado presentó el mayor crecimiento de ingresos en el período, ubicándose en el puesto 3309º en 2009. La descomposición del índice mostró que para los tipos de café con mayor procesamiento, la principal causa del crecimiento de la sofisticación de las exportaciones fue el efecto de la ventaja comparativa revelada. Los productos con menor cantidad de procesamiento presentaron una pérdida de cuota relativa de mercado, con el valor añadido a la cadena de producción llevado a cabo afuera de los países productores de materias primas.

Suggested Citation

  • Orlando Monteiro da Silva & Carlos Antonio Leite, 2013. "Income Content of the World Coffee Exports," REVISTA AD-MINISTER, UNIVERSIDAD EAFIT, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000475:011691

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. da Silva, Orlando Monteiro & Drumond, Rafael Rodrigues & de Almeida, Fernanda Maria, 2011. "Similarity and income content at the international trade: The case of BRICS during the period 2000/09," IAMO Forum 2011: Will the "BRICs Decade" Continue? – Prospects for Trade and Growth 17, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO).
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    More about this item


    Coffee; Exports; International markets; Café; Exportaciones; Mercados internacionales; Nivel de ingresos; Indicadores de sofisticación;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade


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