The Fair Trade Idea: Towards an Economics of Social Labels
The concept of Fair Trade is applied to the marketing of a variety of goods. In recent years it has met a continually increasing interest among consumers. Different Fair Trade organizations are trying to accomplish an improvement in working and living conditions in developing countries by means of Fair Trade certificates and by paying a price markedly above world market standard. This is meant to lead to the attainment of basic social standards, especially in agricultural production. The article deals with how Fair Trade works and whether the social aims can be achieved by the application of this trade concept. Our main result is that even though efficiency of redistribution through the Fair Trade institutions is lower than through traditional relief organizations, the Fair Trade concept provides an additional incentive to support better living conditions in the Third World. Moreover, it provides a stimulus for producers to reorganize the production process in a socially more acceptable manner even when this is not rewarded by the Fair Trade company. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007
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