Compliance and cooperation in global value chains: The effects of the Better Cotton Initiative in Pakistan and India

Shakil Ghori , Peter Lund-Thomsen*, Caleb Gallemore, Sukhpal Singh , Lone Riisgaard

*Corresponding author

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


The Better Cotton Imitative (BCI), the world's largest multi-stakeholder initiative (MSI) for sustainable cotton production, is a prime example of a hybrid “cooperation-compliance” model used by some MSIs to engage farmers and on-farm workers in the global South. Using a mixed methods approach, we investigate the impacts of this hybrid model on economic, environmental, and labor conditions of farmers and on-farm workers on irrigated cotton farms in Pakistan and India. In one of few cross-national comparisons of BCI impacts, we find evidence that farmers participating in BCI's “cooperation-compliance” model report (a) higher gross incomes and (b) lower input costs than comparison farmers. However, (c) BCI had no positive impacts upon labor conditions on cotton farms, as compared to conventional peers. Finally, (d) BCI's impacts are mediated by institutional and geographic differences across the study sites. We conclude that effects of MSIs are hard to generalize but can most meaningfully be understood within particular institutional designs, value chains, specific time periods, and institutional contexts.
TidsskriftEcological Economics
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for the support of the Danish Social Science Research Council for our project titled ‘Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives in the Cotton Value Chains of South Asia’ (2013–2018), grant number 1327-00085B .


  • Better Cotton Initiative
  • Global Value Chain
  • India
  • Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives
  • Pakistan

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