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Although agricultural products bearing a “fair trade” label have become increasingly popular in the West, some critics posit that fair-trade programs actually do little to alleviate poverty among farmers in the developing world. Such critics claim that the cost of fair-trade certification is often prohibitively expensive for impoverished farmers and that a lack of regulation has led to an explosion of so-called “fair trade” labels that are often worth little more than the paper on which they are printed. Additionally, even though fair-trade products frequently retail for significantly more money than conventional products, Western companies retain the bulk of the extra profits.

In determining the effectiveness of fair-trade programs at lifting farmers in the developing world out of poverty, the answer to which of the following questions would be the most important?

A

How many different fair-trade certification programs are currently in existence?

B

How many farmers in developing countries currently participate in fair-trade programs?

C

What is the average yearly income for a farmer who participates in a fair-trade certification program versus for a farmer who does not participate in such a program?

D

How much additional purchasing power does a farmer in a developing country gain via participation in a fair-trade certification program?

E

How much, on average, does fair-trade certification cost for a farmer in the developing world?

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