Do Sustainability Standards Benefit Smallholder Farmers Also When Accounting for Cooperative Effects? Evidence from Côte D'Ivoire

15 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2020

See all articles by Jorge Sellare

Jorge Sellare

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Eva‐Marie Meemken

University of Goettingen (Gottingen)

Christophe Kouamé

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Matin Qaim

University of Goettingen (Gottingen)

Date Written: March 2020

Abstract

Although many studies analyzed effects of sustainability standards—such as Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance—on smallholder farmers in developing countries, most did not sufficiently account for systematic differences between certified and noncertified farmers. Certified farmers are typically organized in cooperatives. When sampling only from a small number of cooperatives, as previous studies did, it is not easy to disentangle certification effects from possible cooperative effects. Here, we address this shortcoming by randomly sampling from a large number of cooperatives, thus better capturing existing institutional heterogeneity. In particular, we collect and use data from cocoa farmers in Côte d'Ivoire who are organized in Fairtrade‐certified and noncertified cooperatives. Regression models with instrumental variables show that Fairtrade has positive and significant effects on cocoa yields, prices, and living standards. These effects remain significant also after controlling for cooperative characteristics, but the magnitude of the estimates changes. We draw two conclusions. First, in Côte d'Ivoire, Fairtrade certification benefits farmers economically. Second, and more generally, cooperative characteristics are jointly correlated with certification and relevant outcomes, which needs to be accounted for to avoid bias when evaluating the benefits of sustainability standards in the small farm sector.

Keywords: Certification, cocoa, cooperatives, Côte d'Ivoire, Fairtrade, sustainability standards

Suggested Citation

Sellare, Jorge and Meemken, Eva‐Marie and Kouamé, Christophe and Qaim, Matin, Do Sustainability Standards Benefit Smallholder Farmers Also When Accounting for Cooperative Effects? Evidence from Côte D'Ivoire (March 2020). American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 102, Issue 2, pp. 681-695, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3558934 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajae.12015

Jorge Sellare (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Eva‐Marie Meemken

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) ( email )

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073
Germany

Christophe Kouamé

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Matin Qaim

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) ( email )

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073
Germany

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