UBC Graduate Research

Effects of Fair Trade Certification on Social Capital: The Case of Rwandan Coffee Producers Elder, Sara D.; Zerriffi, Hisham; Le Billon, Philippe


Fair Trade certification may have important social effects on small-scale producers but empirical evidence is limited. We conducted logistic regressions using data from a 2009 survey of Rwandan coffee farmers to estimate the link between Fair Trade and social capital—measured as farmer trust and participation—while controlling for various other factors that could influence social capital, particularly membership in a cooperative organization. The results show a negative association between Fair Trade and farmer trust in cooperative leadership and a positive association with a perceived higher level of participation of women. Social capital is linked most significantly to farmers’ interaction with their neighbors.

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