E-mails arrive in my inbox regularly listing the latest from the American Association of Wine Economists, a nonprofit that presents and publishes studies by academic economists involving wine. Although many of these papers are impenetrable to a lay reader, every now and then a few catch my eye. The current e-mail has several. Make of these what you will.
Most fascinating to me is "When Does the Price Affect the Taste?" The authors, Johan Almenberg and Anna Dreber, designed an experiment in which hosts sometimes revealed the price of the wines they poured, and sometimes not, then asked everyone to rate the wines. The results? "Disclosing a high price ... produces considerably higher ratings, although only from women. Disclosing a low price, by contrast, does not result in lower ratings." In other words, as a host you won't adversely affect your guests' pleasure by telling them how much you paid for the wine you're serving. If it's a high-priced bottle women might like it even more. You won't change their perception of a bargain bottle, although they might peg you as a cheapskate.
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