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Gustavo Setrini holds a Ph.D. from the Political Science Department at MIT, where he currently serves as research director for the Center for International Studies’ Puerto Rico Economy Project and is coordinating a set of comparative studies to inform a new economic development strategy for the Island. His primary research interests are the political economy of sustainable agriculture and the political consequences of agricultural growth in the era of globalization.

Gustavo’s dissertation, "Global Niche Markets and Local Development: Clientelism and Fairtrade Farmer Organizations in Paraguay’s Sugar Industry" develops a framework to understand how small farmers’ dependent political and economic relations evolve at the local level in response to global initiatives like Fairtrade and Organic certification. In addition, his research has examined the effectiveness of donor-funded, NGO-led development projects to promote sustainable agricultural techniques among poor farmers and to alleviate poverty by integrating small farmers into global supply chains.

As part of the Puerto Rico Economy Project, Gustavo is conducting a study of Island’s food and agriculture system, which seeks to identify the constraints and opportunities for linking agricultural development to natural resource conservation, job creation, and local wealth generation. In particular, his research examines the mismatch between the regulatory and educational institutions that developed on the Island to govern ‘mass- market’ agriculture during the twentieth century and the new approaches to agriculture that have arisen through entrepreneurial activities of two sets of actors: agribusiness firms that are focused on high-value export niches and sustainable agriculture movements focused on local markets and food security.


Gustavo Setrini
Gustavo Setrini






Massachusetts Institute of Technology