Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant: The Effects of Marketing Systems on Market Knowledge Grant

Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant: The Effects of Marketing Systems on Market Knowledge .


  • Graduate student, Courtney M. Dowdall, supervised by Dr. Liliana Goldín (Florida International University), will investigate the effects that different marketing structures have on producer market knowledge. The research will be conducted with three coffee producing cooperatives in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. She will examine coffee producers' efforts to alter the commodity chain for coffee. She will conduct a comparative analysis of three different forms of market participation (FairTrade certification, non-certified fair trade, and the national coffee organization) and compare middlemen and producer knowledge in each form. The fair trade movement represents one potential solution to unequal exchange relationships, but it is unclear if it is successful.Dowdall will use multiple qualitative and quantitative social science methods, including participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and cognitive knowledge assessments. These data will allow her to document (1) how trade partnerships are established, (2) the number and tasks of firms involved in the commodity chain of each cooperative, (3) the value of the coffee product upon leaving each successive firm, and (4) the relationship between the composition of commodity chains and the market knowledge of cooperative members. The research is important because it will contribute to better theorizing of the middle-levels of economic globalization. It also will contribute to improved economic development policy making by expanding understanding of commodity prioducer options, decision-making, and knowledge sources. The award also supports the education of a social scientist.

date/time interval

  • July 15, 2009 - June 30, 2011

sponsor award ID

  • 0922728