The Case of Specialty Coffee: What Motivates Consumers to Pay a Premium - AAEA at ASSA

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For many people, their morning coffee is about more than just filling up their cup; it's coffee for a cause.

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"Coffee was one of the first socially-responsible products out there."

There’s nothing quite like a cup of coffee in the morning. Some people drink it for the taste. Others like a little caffeine boost. With so many options out there, coffee drinkers have a strong opinion about where they get that cup ‘o Joe.

One trend percolating in the coffee world is buying beans for a good cause; people going out of their way to spend more because of where the beans come from.

That is the focus of a paper entitled “Socially Responsible Products: What Motivates Consumers to Pay a Premium?” by Leslie J. Verteramo Chiu and co-authors from Cornell University. The authors takes a close look at the choice to buy fair trade or environmentally-friendly coffee.

“There is a large population who will pay premiums for socially-responsible products,” said co-author Harry M. Kaiser. “We are trying to find out what the motivation is.”

That motivation is split into three groups each paying more for different reasons. The charity of coffee is part of an AAEA session of the 2016 Allied Social Sciences Association Annual Meeting (ASSA) in San Francisco, California, January 3-5.

The session will be held Monday, January 4, at 2:30 p.m. (PST) at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis (Room Sierra C).

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