Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance,
Stockholm School of Economics

No 717: When Does the Price Affect the Taste? Results from a Wine Experiment

Johan Almenberg () and Anna Dreber ()
Additional contact information
Johan Almenberg: Ministry of Finance
Anna Dreber: SIFR, Postal: Institute for Financial Research, Drottninggatan 89, SE-113 60 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: We designed an experiment that examines how knowledge about the price of a good, and the time at which the information is received, affects how the good is experienced. The good in question was wine, and the price was either high or low. Our results suggest that hosts offering wine to guests can safely reveal the price: much is gained if the wine is expensive, and little is lost if it is cheap. Disclosing the high price before tasting the wine produces considerably higher ratings, although only from women. Disclosing the low price, by contrast, does not result in lower ratings. Our finding supports the notion that price not only serves to clear markets, it also serves as a marketing tool; it influences expectations that in turn shape a consumer’s experience. In addition, our results suggest that men and women respond differently to attribute information concerning wine.

Keywords: Price-Quality Heuristic; Attribute Information; Role of Expectations; Marketing; Blind Tasting; Wine.

JEL-codes: C91; D03; D83; M31

16 pages, First version: April 19, 2009. Revised: March 2, 2010. Earlier revisions: April 20, 2009, August 3, 2009, August 3, 2009, March 2, 2010.

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