Is Fair Trade Worth Its Cost?

Faith & Economics 65 (Spring 2015), pp. 25-34

10 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2015

See all articles by Victor V. Claar

Victor V. Claar

Florida Gulf Coast University

Colleen E. Haight

San Jose State University

Date Written: February 2, 2015


This paper extends the existing literature on fair trade by incorporating the latest empirical analyses as well as responding to recent claims that even if fair trade is deemed to be an inefficient or ineffective tool toward poverty alleviation, there may nevertheless be other compelling reasons to retain either the fair trade model or the fair trade label. The analysis contrasts the alternative trade organization (ATO) model of fair trade with the commodity-based Fairtrade International (FLO) model, and also discusses the recent departure of Fair Trade USA from the FLO. We conclude that commodity-based fair trade initiatives are simply not worth their opportunity cost.

Keywords: fair trade, economic development, poverty, trade, exports

JEL Classification: F13, I38, O15, O19

Suggested Citation

Claar, Victor V. and Haight, Colleen, Is Fair Trade Worth Its Cost? (February 2, 2015). Faith & Economics 65 (Spring 2015), pp. 25-34, Available at SSRN:

Victor V. Claar (Contact Author)

Florida Gulf Coast University ( email )

10485 FGCU Blvd S
Ft. Myers, FL 33965-6565
United States
2395907361 (Phone)

Colleen Haight

San Jose State University ( email )

San Jose, CA 95192
United States


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