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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 27, 2012

The Pro-Competitive Effect of Coffee Cooperatives in Chiapas, Mexico

Anna B. Milford

Imperfect competition among purchasers of coffee is a common problem for small scale producers. Producer-owned marketing cooperatives can reduce the market power of private purchasers and restore competition. Non-members as well as members of the cooperatives will then receive higher prices. In the present paper I carry out a theoretical and an empirical investigation into the effect of Fairtrade and organically certified cooperatives on local competition and coffee prices in Chiapas, Mexico. A theoretical model is presented which explains how the competitive effect may work in this particular setting, where cooperative membership implies certain costs that are perceived differently by different producers. Also, using both qualitative and quantitative methods, I present evidence that is consistent with the hypothesis of a pro-competitive effect of cooperatives.

Published Online: 2012-3-27

©2012 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston

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