Which is better for impoverished migrant workers, fair trade coffee or premium coffee?

Dr. Haight is an Associate Professor of Economics at San Jose State University. She holds a BA in French Literature from UCLA, an MBA in Finance from Notre Dame de Namur University, and a Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University. Her academic research revolves around different types of regulation and its effect on businesses.

Fair‐​trade coffee sells at a higher price and helps the farmer—a small landowner—receive more profit for his product. Unfortunately, fair‐​trade products do nothing to help impoverished migrant workers. Is there a better way to help the poorest of the poor? Prof. Colleen Haight has researched fair‐​trade coffee for over 10 years and has visited several Central American coffee farms. She suggests that while fair trade has done much to increase consumer awareness, it is not the best way to help the poor. Instead, she recommends buying premium coffees. As premium coffee beans fetch higher prices in the market, migrant workers who work on premium coffee farms earn higher pay.