Gavin Fridell

Canada Research Chair in International Development Studies

Tier 2 - 2017-11-01
Renewed: 2017-07-01
Saint Mary's University
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council


Research involves

Examining the political economy of fair trade, free trade and global trade governance and how trade issues play out among social movements and states.

Research relevance

This research will lead to greater understanding of how effective commodity agreements are for channelling income into the hands of poor farmers and rural workers.

Examining the Fairness of Fair Trade

Cafés across North America feature campaigns urging patrons to choose fair trade coffee. But what does fair trade mean? And to what extent can a cup of coffee purchased through a fair trade network benefit a southern farmer or migrant worker?

Dr. Gavin Fridell, Canada Research Chair in International Development Studies, believes commodity agreements like fair trade coffee are not just economic accords. They also have the potential to promote local development and channel greater income into the hands of poor farmers and rural workers. To evaluate this potential, Fridell is conducting a comparative analysis of national and international agreements.

In addition, Fridell is investigating the political, economic and ideological dimensions of trade policy, with particular focus on former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz, who has become a global policy icon. Fridell is exploring whether Stiglitz’s iconic image has had a greater political impact than his policy ideas.

Fridell’s larger research agenda involves an examination of the political economy of global trade governance and exploring how trade and development issues play out among global social movements and within state-led negotiations.

Fridell’s research will increase understanding of both the potential and limitations of commodity agreements to improve the lives of Southern workers. It will also provide a thorough history of national and international commodity regulation.