On March 9th, 2023, the Anker Research Institute presented the draft Living Wage Benchmark Report for Rural Cibao Norte, Dominican Republic to an open meeting for stakeholders in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. The stakeholder feedback meeting is an important step in the Anker Methodology for Estimating Living Wages, ensuring that the research process captured all relevant inputs and other considerations.
Koen Voorend, lead researcher and co-author of the study, and Marcelo Delajara, senior researcher at the Anker Research Institute, led this meeting, presenting on relevant aspects of the Anker Methodology and providing a detailed explanation of the fieldwork carried out, the analysis of secondary data, and the results obtained.
The stakeholders that attended included representatives of producers and workers in the study area, mainly in the banana sector, and also academics, central bank regional economists, government officials, representatives of Fairtrade International, and of The Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade Small Producers and Workers (CLAC), which organized the event. After an active discussion about various aspects of the study, all participants verified that the results are sound and comprehensive.
Fairtrade International, supporting the research, intends to use the benchmark as a basis for its Living Wage strategy application in the Dominican Republic, where it has certified most of the banana plantations. The strategy is about drawing additional value from the main business actors along banana supply chains that is then passed on to workers. Considering this principle of shared responsibility, the Institute plans to present the Living Wage report next to traders and retailers sourcing bananas from the Dominican Republic.
This is the first time a new Anker Living Wage Benchmark study has been carried out as a follow-up of a previous study (of 2013) in the same region (rural Cibao Norte). While the original 2013 study has been regularly updated for inflation to 2017, 2019 and 2022 by the Anker Research Institute, these updates do not capture the considerable economic development of the Dominican Republic since 2013. Therefore, inflation updates alone do not suffice to reflect the current, higher levels of decency expected by workers, which go up with economic development. The Anker Methodology foresees this need to periodically redo and re-estimate Benchmark living wages every 5-10 years, depending on how dynamic economic and social change has been.
Koen Voorend is an economist with a PhD in Development Economics from the Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague, The Netherlands, and is currently the director of the Institute of Social Research (IIS) at the University of Costa Rica. As a member of the Anker Research Institute’s Global Network of Researchers, Koen has previously been involved in the estimation of Anker Living Wage Benchmarks for Belize, Costa Rica and Guatemala, and has studied the living wage of Nicaraguan migrants in Costa Rica. His co-authors on the Cibao Norte report are Daniel Alvarado, Richard Anker and Martha Anker.
Photos: Marcelo Delajara