DP7459 | Middlemen, Non-Profits and Poverty

Publication Date

23/09/2009

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Abstract

In many markets in developing countries, especially in remote areas, middlemen are thought to earn excessive profits. Non-profits come in to counter what is seen as middlemen's market power, and rich country consumers pay a 'fair-trade' premium for products marketed by such non-profits. This paper provides answers to the following five questions. How exactly do middlemen and non-profits divide up the market? How do the price mark up and price pass-through differ between middleman and non-profits? What is the impact of non-profits entry on the wellbeing of the poor? Should the government subsidize the entry of non-profits, or the entry of middlemen? Should wealthy consumers in the North pay a premium for fair trade products, or should they support fair trade non-profits directly?