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The demand for socially responsible products: empirical evidence from a pilot study on fair trade consumers

Author

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  • Leonardo Becchetti

    () (Economics Department, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”)

  • Furio Camillo Rosati

    (Economics Department, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”)

Abstract

We analyze behaviour and motivations of a sample of about one thousand consumers purchasing “fair trade (FT) goods”, i. e. food and artisan goods which include socially responsible (SR) characteristics and a price premium for primary product producers with respect to equivalent non SR products. By estimating a simultaneous two-equation treatment regression model we find that FT products have less than unit income elasticity and their demand is negatively (positively) correlated with geographical distance from the nearest shop (age and awareness of SR criteria). Awareness of SR criteria depends, in turn, on a series of factors (consumption habits, membership of volunteer associations) which, indirectly (via increased awareness), significantly affect consumption. We also measure consumers’ willingness to pay in excess for the SR features of FT products with a contingent evaluation approach and find that it is positively correlated with awareness of SR criteria.

Suggested Citation

  • Leonardo Becchetti & Furio Camillo Rosati, 2005. "The demand for socially responsible products: empirical evidence from a pilot study on fair trade consumers," Working Papers 04, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  • Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2005-04
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    File URL: http://www.ecineq.org/milano/WP/ECINEQ2005-04.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    3. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-427, June.
    4. P. De Pelsmacker & L. Driesen & G. Rayp, 2003. "Are fair trade labels good business ? Ethics and coffee buying intentions," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 03/165, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    5. Peter A. Diamond & Jerry A. Hausman, 1994. "Contingent Valuation: Is Some Number Better than No Number?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 45-64, Fall.
    6. Anderson, Simon, 1987. "Spatial competition and price leadership," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 369-398.
    7. Fabrizio Adriani & Leonardo Becchetti, 2004. "Fair Trade: A 'Third Generation' Welfare Mechanism to Make Globalisation Sustainable," CEIS Research Paper 62, Tor Vergata University, CEIS.
    8. Steven Suranovic, 2002. "International Labour and Environmental Standards Agreements: Is This Fair Trade?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(2), pages 231-245, February.
    9. Katherine Terrell & Fatma El Hamidi, 2001. "The Impact of Minimum Wages on Wage Inequality and Employment in the Formal and Informal Sector in Costa Rica," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 479, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chiu, Leslie J. Verteramo & Gomez, Miguel I. & Liaukonyte, Jura & Kaiser, Harry M., 2015. "Socially Responsible Products: What Motivates Consumers to Pay a Premium?," 2016 Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting, January 3-5, 2016, San Francisco, California 212829, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Verteramo Chiu, Leslie J. & Gómez, Miguel I. & Kaiser, Harry M. & Yan, Jubo, 2014. "Socially-Responsible Certification Schemes for Smallholder Coffee Farmers: Economics of Giving and Consumer Utility," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 170551, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fair trade; social preferences; willingness to pay;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

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