Talk:Fair trade impact studies

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Image copyright problem with Image:BrewingJustice.jpg[edit]

The image Image:BrewingJustice.jpg is used in this article under a claim of fair use, but it does not have an adequate explanation for why it meets the requirements for such images when used here. In particular, for each page the image is used on, it must have an explanation linking to that page which explains why it needs to be used on that page. Please check

  • That there is a non-free use rationale on the image's description page for the use in this article.
  • That this article is linked to from the image description page.

This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --23:07, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

THIS PAGE DOES NOT MEET WIKIPEDIA GUIDELINES[edit]

The Fairtrade Impact Studies page does not meet any of the Wikipedia criteria. It provides short statements of some of the data in some publications.

Are you talking about Fairtrade impact studies or Fair trade impact studies? The former article does not, at this point, exist. Yakushima (talk) 02:12, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, Fairtrade marketing has had the effect of drowning out the legitimate Fair Trade organizations, much to their annoyance. So there are almost no studies of other Fair Trade.AidWorker (talk) 13:44, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia as a bulletin board or blog[edit]

There is no attempt to provide representative research. Instead people seem to be using the page as a bulletin board or blog to publicize their publications. This is not a legitimate function of an encyclopaedia.

The solution is not to delete their research -- a WP:PRESERVE violation. Rather, consider how it might be given WP:UNDUE weight. I agree that entire sections with same titles as the papers they cite is not only bad style, but almost certainly WP:UNDUE. If, however, the papers should be accorded some weight (as perhaps measured by citation indices), then some paraphrase of their results could be appropriate. Yakushima (talk) 02:02, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia would cease to exist tomorrow if it was considered acceptable for authors to put anything they have written on electricity, say, on the Electricity page. I have not come across any Wikipedia page which follows Yakushima’s suggestion. The suggestion of weighting results according to citation indices is bizarre: it certainly would introduce new biases.AidWorker (talk) 13:44, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia as an abstracting service[edit]

Wikipedia is not an abstracting service: it is an encyclopaedia – CAB international, Agricola, etc would be appropriate places to put abstracts. They do attempt full coverage, while this page has been recipient of a targeted selection of publications

If the paragraphs are actually abstracts taken from papers, deletion is appropriate under WP:COPYVIO. However, WP:PRESERVE might still apply. Wholesale deletion is not the solution. Yakushima (talk) 02:04, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

The selection of cooperatives to study is biased[edit]

There are two related biases. First there is a bias in which Fairtrade cooperatives to study. Second there is a bias in which of the studies to present on this page.

It would be misleading and biased to publish full details of the very few people who smoke 100 cigarettes a day and reach the age of 100, and to claim or suggest that this heavy smoking leads to longlivety. Honesty requires that the large number of people who do not smoke and reach this age are also mentioned, and the high death rate of those who do smoke is mentioned. Suppressio veri, suggestio falsi applies: to suppress the truth is to imply a falsehood. These studies are biased because the people doing the research choose to research what seem to be successful Fairtrade cooperatives. There is no attempt to look at the unsuccessful cooperatives. There is no mention of or impact study of, say, the 50% least successful cooperatives. Some of the studies cited on this page, probably nearly all, were written by people already committed to Fairtrade when they started their investigation. Indeed some of the publications cited in Murray, Raynolds and Taylor 2003 were written by members or employees of Fairtrade cooperatives, implying bias in both the selection of the sample cooperatives and in the carrying out of the study.

What you say may be true (I haven't checked your claims about authorship and WP:COI issues), but relying almost entirely on Griffiths' criticism as a basis for wholesale deletion is itself a WP:POV violation. Yakushima (talk) 02:13, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Selection of studies to report[edit]

The selection of studies to report here is biased. For example, there is a failure to include papers which give the opposite picture. For example, Bacon 2005 is cited, but not papers which produce the opposite conclusion[ Bacon, C. 2005. Confronting the Coffee Crisis: Can Fair Trade, Organic, and Specialty Coffees Reduce Small-Scale Farmer Vulnerability in Northern Nicaragua? World Development Vol. 33, No. 3, pp. 497–511is cited, but not Mendoza, R., & J. Bastiaensen, J. (2003). “Fair Trade and the Coffee Crisis in the Nicaraguan Segovias.” Small Enterprise Development , 14(2), Valkila, J., Haaparanta, P., & Niemi, N. (2010). Empowering Coffee Traders? The Coffee Value Chain from Nicaraguan Fair Trade Farmers to Finnish Consumers. Journal of Business Ethics , 97:257-270, Valkila, J. (2009). Fair Trade organic coffee production in Nicaragua - Sustainable development or a poverty trap? Ecological Economics , 68 3018-3025.

Selection of data to report[edit]

The page gives a line or two of ‘results’. Few of the studies reported were intended to be ‘impact studies’ and fewer still meet the normal requirements for ‘impact studies’. They are instead case studies, which may give a lot of valuable information, on how the cooperative worked, how the Fairtrade fitted in, and what problems arose, and what unintended harmful effects were observed, for example. Some are little more than unevidenced journalism. It is misleading in the extreme to select one or two favourable outcomes, a couple of sentences from a 40,000 word report, perhaps, and present it as a definitive ‘favourable impact’. No meaningful impact study identifies just a single impact. No meaningful impact study fails to recognize that there are negative effects as well as positive effects to any intervention. AidWorker (talk) 18:50, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Selected raw data from primary publications[edit]

Wikipedia has firm guidelines on this. Wikipedia forbids the citation of primary studies like these. The guideline does not consider the possibility that people might go a step further and select a particular datum or selection of data from a primary publication and present it as being in some way representative of all. I do not believe that the editors considered that anyone would do it.

If you'd like to argue on the basis of firm guidelines, it helps greatly if you cite them. Primary sources may be used -- in fact, in most cases, must be used, if discussing a notable point of view as a point of view. Yakushima (talk) 02:11, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
See WP:PSTS. ‘Wikipedia articles should be based on reliable, published secondary sources and, to a lesser extent, on tertiary sources.’ ‘Material based purely on primary sources should be avoided.’ (e.g. the ‘Selections from the Literature’) ‘Do not base articles and material entirely on primary sources.’ Primary sources, if handled with care, may be used in historical pages. Primary sources on scientific experiments may be used, if handled with enormous care. But social science case studies?AidWorker (talk) 13:44, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Commercial[edit]

It is relevant that Fairtrade is a commercial brand which big businesses in the rich countries are making a lot of money out of.

POV mostly from single source[edit]

The article as it stands at this point primarily cites a single source: Griffiths. If there were a Wikipedia article specifically on the notable subject of his stance on fair trade impact studies, this would be OK. But that's not what the article is supposed to be about. Yakushima (talk) 01:49, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

I'd agree with that. I think we do need some content on this topic, but does it actually need to be in a separate article rather than being a section of Fair Trade? If reliable sources have said something substantial about the impact of "fair trade" schemes, that article would greatly benefit from more emphasis on those sources... bobrayner (talk) 02:00, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
I started out by suggesting that this page should be deleted, but after the discussion I think it would be wrong. At least having it here means that there is some discussion of whether there are in fact any impact studies, whether the impact studies have any value whatsoever, and whether cherrypicking of results is acceptable. AidWorker (talk) 13:44, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

WP:PRESERVE: copying article here, before reverting problematic edit by AidWorker[edit]

The last change by AidWorker violated WP:PRESERVE. I'm restoring the article to the state it was in before the almost-wholesale deletion of sources besides Griffiths and one other.

Any intervention in an economic system has knock-on impacts throughout that system: some significant, many small; some costs, some benefits; some people benefit, others are harmed. Impact evaluation like cost-benefit analysis aims to identify costs and benefits throughout the system, then quantify them, so that people do not make unwarranted claims of impact and so that informed decisions can be made. There have been very few attempts at impact studies of Fairtrade. There are very few studies that examine any of the costs identified by critics of Fairtrade in the Fair trade debate, and fewer still that attempt to quantify them. There are few mentions in the literature of the biggest financial costs and benefits, the extra price paid by consumers and the extra profit made by companies in rich countries, and fewer attempts to quantify these. A small number of studies[1] show that in some cases 90% to 99.5% of the extra money paid by consumers is kept as extra profit by firms in rich countries but cannot show that this is typical: the conclusion is rather that secretiveness prevents impact analysis of the full Fairtrade system. There are few studies that attempt to meet the requirements of a meaningful impact study, which is particularly difficult with Third World agriculture.[2]
Impact studies require study of the counterfactual, using control groups to ensure that an impact is the result of the intervention being studied, which is often impossible and always difficult with Fairtrade because of the way that Fairtrade is organized, notably because the Fairtrade farmers and cooperatives are selected from the richer and more efficient, and because the non-Fairtrade farmers may be harmed by Fairtrade.[3] These problems arise with both case studies and more general surveys, and are particularly intractable when the appropriate control group is in another country. There have been virtually no base period studies, to determine the position before a cooperative joined Fairtrade, so it is seldom possible to claim that the farmers in a cooperative are better off or have more self esteem because of Fairtrade, rather than because Fairtrade selects efficient cooperatives with educated, efficient, well-off farmers. The possibility that all groups of farmers have increased incomes because of higher world prices, changed exchange rates etc. is seldom addressed.
There are a lot of case studies of Fairtrade cooperatives which do not attempt to be impact studies, but are, rather, examinations of how parts of a single cooperative operate, a separate area of study. They do not address impacts outside the cooperative, costs to non-Fairtrade farmers and consumers, or benefits to firms in rich countries, for instance. Few analyse how much extra money is received by the cooperatives, what it is spent on, how much is taken by managers of cooperatives and how much reaches the farmers. Few discuss the costs identified in the Fair trade debate. However, as most of the extra money paid by consumers is taken by firms in rich countries or is spent on added costs incurred in meeting Fairtrade standards, it is seldom possible to identify direct financial benefit to farmers, and the studies concentrate on non-money benefits, like improvement in self-esteem. Quantifying these is difficult. There is seldom an attempt to measure these non-money benefits in control groups of local non-Fairtrade farmers, the extent to which non-Fairtrade farmers lose self-esteem, etc. because they are excluded from Fairtrade, for instance, and there are none attempting to measure any effects on non-Fairtrade farmers in other, poorer, countries. It may be asked whether there are other non-money costs or benefits that might be included in the studies which would give answers less favourable to Fairtrade.
Even if twenty or thirty studies which met the criteria could be identified, it would not be possible to generalize from them. The studies are not of randomly selected cooperatives: they are concentrated on better known, more successful and well established ones. There are few which examine the problems of cooperatives introducing Fairtrade or of the least successful quartile. [4]
1 year is hardly a long time in the peer review process. Canadianism (talk) 18:27, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
An extraordinary statement “the almost-wholesale deletion of sources besides Griffiths and one other.” The entry he objects to has references to
1. standard economic theory on impacts (Cost Benefit Analysis),
2. standard theory on Impact evaluation
3. The standard impact evaluation guidelines used by the Inter American Development Bank and the World Bank
4. The literature on the special problems of carrying out impact evaluation on agriculture in the Third World, citing a special feature in one of the top agricultural economics journals.
5. The rules of scientific method which are so basic that nobody ever cites a source – and nobody has asked me to reference them here. Is it really necessary to reference for example the fact that you cannot generalize from case studies, or that some form of randomness in selection of examples is needed before you generalize from them?
If you delete these, then indeed you come to 6. the only review of the methodology of Fairtrade impact studies that I have been able to find. Surprise! Surprise!
It is unlikely that other reviews of the methodology specific to Fairtrade will be produced. The top impact evaluation expert I consulted is not likely to produce a paper on this because 1. He has an important job to do, 2. Nobody will pay for his time, 3. While he will certainly identify problems that Griffiths does not mention, they will not be seen as novel by experienced statisticians, economists or social scientists, let alone his fellow impact evaluation experts, 4. He will find it difficult to publish a non-novel review in a reputable journal, 5. If he does, people will try to keep it from being properly discussed.
Fairtrade guidelines WP:PRESERVE require that you provide additional references if you think that a page relies unduely on one source. I have not been able to find these: nobody has challenged Griffiths since it was published a year ago, though, no doubt, the editor of the Journal of Business Ethics would welcome a comment. And I would welcome the opportunity to cite the exchange.AidWorker (talk) 13:44, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Selections from the literature[edit]

So now there is a section entitled ‘Selections from the literature’. Selections by who? Selections on what criteria? We note that someone has deleted the embarassing links to what everyone else in the world considers the standard approaches to impact studies, in Cost Benefit Analysis, and Impact analysis, to the World Bank/Inter American Bank guidelines, to the work on agricultural impact analysis in the Third World, and to the normal rules of scientific method - evidently so they can include anything that suits their agenda even if nobody else considers it to be an impact study.
There must now be 1000 case studies, many of them excellent. Few of them attempt to be or manage to be impact studies, and it would be improper to generalize from the impacts identified in case studies (case studies have different objectives to impact studies). There is no possibility whatsoever that someone is going to plough through these case studies and find out which of them meet the specifications for impact studies. There is no possibility that someone will read them and exclude those that make elementary blunders. Few of the studies are open to peer review: there is no journal that would publish comments or refutations on them. Few of the authors are willing to provide the standard survey report.
So someone has cherrypicked which studies to include. Someone has cherrypicked which results to quote. Someone has cherrypicked which results to ignore. Someone has failed to point out omissions and caveats. Someone has failed to point out where the studies do not address the many criticisms of Fairtrade made over the years. I note again the inclusion of Bacon and the deletion of the many people who produced results that conflict with this though this bias was clearly pointed out earlier on this page.[5] I note that Taylor is cited as saying ‘The various case studies have concluded that producers had under Fair Trade greater access to credit and external development funding’ without citing different results on credit produced by, for example, (Utting, 2009, p. 139; Valkila, 2009, pp. 3022-3; Raynolds, 2009, p. 1089) all of whom are more prominent, and more recent, than Taylor, and the failure to mention the negative impact on those producers whose external development funding was switched to Fairtrade producers. This is editor-created bias.
The editor has deleted the first sentence of the previous version, ‘Any intervention in an economic system has knock-on impacts throughout that system: some significant, many small; some costs, some benefits; some people benefit, others are harmed.’ This statement, fundamental to all economics, means that it is possible to cherrypick positive impacts from any intervention to promote one falsehood, or negative impacts to promote another falsehood. It is for this reason that cherrypicking is considered serious academic malpractice.
The editor has then deleted the second sentence, ‘Impact evaluation like cost-benefit analysis aims to identify costs and benefits throughout the system, then quantify them, so that people do not make unwarranted claims of impact and so that informed decisions can be made’, which implies that few, if any, of the ‘Selections from the literature’ he produces are impact studies in the generally accepted sense. And it means that few if any can be expected to have tried to identify and quantify all the negative impacts as well as the positive. That is to say the effect of the deletion is to facilitate cherrypicking and the introduction of bias.
Wikipedia guidelines forbid ‘Synthesis of published material that advances a position’ (WP:SYNTHESIS) such as these ‘Selections from the literature’. All interpretive claims, analyses, or synthetic claims about primary sources must be referenced to a secondary source, rather than to the original analysis of the primary-source material by Wikipedia editors. (WP:PSTS).What has been presented here is the results of one editor’s selection.AidWorker (talk) 13:44, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

For the record, the following is the edit objected to: link. I replaced the copy/pasted text with a diff; it was hard to follow the discussion.jonkerz ♠talk 15:17, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

Entry problems[edit]

This entry is rather problematic. It reads more like an essay or academic paper than an encyclopedic overview and the first paragraph is way to long. If I have some time, I'll try to fix it up, but I'd just like to point that out. Canadianism (talk) 18:03, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Actually it is an encyclopedic review of the subject by one of the top economists in the area who is deeply immersed in the literature. It is necessary to state the criteria etc, clearly and unequivocally or else the page gets flooded with references to a highly biased selection of bad term papers and dissertations. By all means rewrite, but do not lose this.AidWorker (talk) 18:22, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

Checking sources[edit]

It is worrying that someone should have put in a statement that Peter Griffiths is a retired Conservative politician, when ten seconds on Google would have shown that he is an economist best known for preventing a famine in a developing country. He is not a politician nor Conservative. Similarly changes were made to a statement on the coverage of a review paper, contradicting what the paper itself claims to have covered. AidWorker (talk) 10:47, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^ Griffiths, P., ‘Ethical objections to Fairtrade’ Journal of Business Ethics: Volume 105, Issue 3 (2012), Page 357-373 (DOI) 10.1007/s10551-011-0972-0 www.springerlink.com Accessed at http://www.griffithsspeaker.com/Fairtrade/why_fair_trade_isn.htm; Valkila, J., Haaparanta, P., & Niemi, N. (2010). “Empowering Coffee Traders? The Coffee Value Chain from Nicaraguan Fair Trade Farmers to Finnish Consumers.” Journal of Business Ethics , 97:257-270; Kilian, B., Jones, C., Pratt, L., & Villalobos, A. (2006). “Is Sustainable Agriculture a Viable Strategy to Improve Farm Income in Central America? A Case Study on Coffee”. Journal of Business Research , 59(3), 322–330.
  2. ^ Winters, P., Alessandro Maffioli and Lina Salazar, ‘Introduction to the Special Feature: Evaluating the Impact of Agricultural Projects in Developing Countries’ Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 62, No. 2, 2011, 393–402 doi: 10.1111/j.1477-9552.2011.00296.x; Winters, P., Salazar, L. and Maffioli, A. ‘Designing impact evaluations for agricultural projects’, Impact Evaluation Guidelines, Strategy Development Division, Technical Notes No. IDB-TN-198. (Washington, DC: Inter-American Development Bank, 2010). Accessed at http://www.iadb.org/document.cfm?id=35529432; Angelucci, M. and Di Maro, V. Project Evaluation and Spillover Effects. Impact Evaluation Guidelines, Strategy Development Division, Technical Notes No. IDB-TN-136 (Washington, DC: Inter-American Development Bank, 2010). Accessed at http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mangeluc/35173297.pdf
  3. ^ Griffiths, P., ‘Ethical objections to Fairtrade’ Journal of Business Ethics: Volume 105, Issue 3 (2012), Page 357-373 (DOI) 10.1007/s10551-011-0972-0 www.springerlink.com Accessed at http://www.griffithsspeaker.com/Fairtrade/why_fair_trade_isn.htm
  4. ^ Griffiths, P., ‘Ethical objections to Fairtrade’ Journal of Business Ethics: Volume 105, Issue 3 (2012), Page 357-373 (DOI) 10.1007/s10551-011-0972-0 www.springerlink.com Accessed at http://www.griffithsspeaker.com/Fairtrade/why_fair_trade_isn.htm;
  5. ^ Confronting the Coffee Crisis: Can Fair Trade, Organic, and Specialty Coffees Reduce Small-Scale Farmer Vulnerability in Northern Nicaragua? World Development Vol. 33, No. 3, pp. 497–511is cited, but not Mendoza, R., & J. Bastiaensen, J. (2003). “Fair Trade and the Coffee Crisis in the Nicaraguan Segovias.” Small Enterprise Development , 14(2), Valkila, J., Haaparanta, P., & Niemi, N. (2010). Empowering Coffee Traders? The Coffee Value Chain from Nicaraguan Fair Trade Farmers to Finnish Consumers. Journal of Business Ethics , 97:257-270, Valkila, J. (2009). Fair Trade organic coffee production in Nicaragua - Sustainable development or a poverty trap? Ecological Economics , 68 3018-3025.