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Grant number like: FB-53608-08

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Lowell Gudmundson
Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, MA 01075-1461)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2008 – 6/30/2009

Coffee, Cooperatives, and the Lessons of Costa Rican Development

A book-length study of the means by which Costa Rica simultaneously deepened democratic participation and achieved rapid productivity and income gains in coffee-based agriculture during the mid-twentieth century. Combining nominally identified data sets from probate and census records of population and farms unique in the field of Latin American history with interviews of surviving participants in the 1950s rise of the cooperative movement in key coffee districts, the study weighs the impact of market interventionist and reform policies. How were Costa Rican reformers able to both discipline beneficiaries through market-driven pricing of outputs while also providing subsidized credit, processing services, fertilizer inputs, and soil erosion control techniques? How were they able to avoid rewarding rent-seeking behavior via political loyalty and in the process vastly increase both coffee exports and productivity/real incomes in agriculture?