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Economic incentives for improving mango quality in Costa Rica

Guillermo Zúñiga‐Arias (Universidad Nacional and International Centre for Political Economy and Sustainable Development (CINPE), Heredia, Costa Rica)
Ruerd Ruben (Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen (CIDIN), The Netherlands)
Ruud Verkerk (Product Design and Quality Management Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands)
Martinus van Boekel (Product Design and Quality Management Group and VLAG Graduate School, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands)

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management

ISSN: 0265-671X

Article publication date: 18 April 2008




The purpose of the paper is to present an integrated methodology for identifying effective economic incentives to enhance quality performance by mango producers in Costa Rica.


The study analyses the relationship between intrinsic product quality attributes and socio‐economic characteristics of mango producers in the Central Pacific zone of Costa Rica. Data are derived from a representative sample of 35 mango producers. A mango quality index for local and export market outlet is constructed and quality performance is subsequently related to farm‐household characteristics and contractual delivery parameters. Categorical regression methods are used to identify the relationships between farm‐household characteristics, production system features, marketing relationships and quality attributes weighted by consumers' preferences.


Key attributes of the quality index – related to dimensions of ripeness, appearance and variability – appear to be strongly related to farm‐household characteristics like the producers' age and experience, input use intensity and family labour availability. Preferences for certain contractual regimes and marketing arrangements give rise to differentiation in quality performance. Long‐term delivery relationships and non‐price attributes appear as key factors for quality improvement in mango.

Research limitation/implications

Although the study is based on a modest sample, the significant relationships between the constructs in the model are found to be sufficiently robust.


The research approach enables the estimation of a model where quality performance is related to technical and institutional aspects related to the organisation of mango delivery chain.



Zúñiga‐Arias, G., Ruben, R., Verkerk, R. and van Boekel, M. (2008), "Economic incentives for improving mango quality in Costa Rica", International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 400-422.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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