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Senior Capstone 2021

The Effects of Global Trade on Colombian Coffee Markets

Abstract: The effects of trade and globalization on industries are multifaceted as exposure to global

markets results in an industry being affected in many different ways. This paper is a case study in a prominent export-dependent industry in a developing country, the coffee growing industry in Colombia. The findings of the paper highlight that by most metrics, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks of trade but there are certainly caveats and nuances to that assessment. The increase in global trade has led to the coffee industry in Colombia growing in size, producing and exporting more coffee than before. This had led to an increase in jobs in the field, as well as gains in wealth for landowners in the coffee growing region, who are mostly families with small landholdings. This has also led to coffee being more widely available and widely enjoyed across the globe. However, one necessary caveat to these gains is the fact that laborers in the industry often have low pay, seasonal work schedules, and poor living conditions. Colombia’s GDP has increased significantly over the past few decades, and the coffee industry was a major driver of that.

Stefanos Kiorpes is a fourth-year student at Northeastern majoring in Economics. He is from Watertown, MA and is a first-generation American.