As per my August post, I am confused by Alex Singleton’s take on fair trade:
Such policies, whether government enforced or done through consumer schemes, encourage more affluent producers to stay in the market. This kicks away the ladder from the poorest producers who have no choice but to stay in the market. A quarter of “fair trade” coffee comes from Mexico, a relatively affluent developing country, where only 18% of the workforce is employed in agriculture. Mexico is a country which, if it so chose, could easily exit the coffee market. Because of the incentive of “fair trade”, many producers have decided to stay producing coffee, even expanding production. This is a disaster for the poorest coffee producers, such as in Ethiopia, where drinking coffee was invented. [The Business]
How can a rightward shift in demand hurt suppliers? If we’re in econ 101 land, the demand shift raises the equilibrium price, inducing marginal suppliers to enter the market and also increasing the size of the producer surplus enjoyed by suppliers already present. What assumptions about market structure must we make to obtain Singleton’s result?