Who buys fair trade and why (or Why Not)? A random survey of households

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We conduct a random survey of Michigan (United States) households to gauge consumer behavior toward, and awareness of, fair trade. Around 58% of respondents have heard of fair trade and just over a quarter have knowingly purchased a fair-trade product. Of the 38% of respondents who indicated a willingness to pay a premium for a fair trade product, the median premium they were willing to pay was around 20%. We find that those who are politically liberal, female, younger, and have attained higher levels of education are willing to pay higher premiums for fair trade, other factors held constant. Respondents who are unwilling to pay a fair trade premium are divided between not doing so because of a belief that all voluntary trade is already fair and a fear of potential unintended negative consequences on workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-430
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Consumer Affairs
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


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