Introduction to Quantitative Gastronomy
The American Association of Wine Economists is pleased to welcome the newly founded Society for Quantitative Gastronomy, whose chef-coq is Olivier Gergaud. The Society has joined the American Association of Wine Economists as its food division. Henceforth, once each year, beginning with this issue, the Journal of Wine Economics will host a sym- posium on gastronomy.
The first paper is on French and Italian hotel breakfasts. Does “petit déjeuner compris” mean that breakfasts are free? George E. Johnson, who is the keynote speaker at the First Annual Meeting of the American Association of Wine Economists on May 23–26, 2007, in Trier, answers this question and shows that a “free” breakfast increases the room price by as much as 10–15%.
In the second paper, Olivier Gergaud, Linett Montano Guzman, and Vincenzo Verardi take readers on a tour to the best and the worst Paris restaurants. They show how the celebrated Michelin Guide distorts the market for good food. As a practical guide for Paris visitors, their appendix provides a list of the 100 best restaurant deals from an econometri- cian’s perspective.
Readers of the Journal of Wine Economics are familiar with the authors of the third food symposium paper. In the inaugural issue of the Journal, Pierre Combris, Christine Lange and Sylvie Issanchou examined the effect of packaging information on the reservation price of Champagne, and found disturbing results. In this issue, they conduct experiments with consumers of orange juice, and find that choices are rational and consistent, leaving room for speculation.
“Pétit Déjeuner Compris” – Is it Really Free?
George E. Johnson
Stardust over Paris Gastronomic Restaurants
Olivier Gergaud, Linett Montano Guzman and Vincenzo Verardi
Product Information, Hedonic Evaluation, and Purchase Decision:
an Experimental Study of Orange Juice
Pierre Combris, Christine Lange and Sylvie Issanchou
French Wine and the U.S. Boycott of 2003: Does Politics Really Affect Commerce? (FULL TEXT PDF)
Orley Ashenfelter, Stephen Ciccarella and Howard J. Shatz
The Military Action in Iraq 2003: Did U.S. Consumer Boycott of French Wines have any Economic Effects?
Jan Bentzen and Valdemar Smith
Critical Exposure and Price-Quality Relationships for New World Wines in the U.S. Market
Peter W. Roberts and Ray Reagans
A Note on a test for the Sum of Ranksums (FULL TEXT PDF)
Richard E. Quandt
In wine tastings, in which several tasters (judges) taste several wines, it is important to insure objectivity to the extent possible. This is usually accomplished by holding the tast- ing “blind,” i.e., covering the bottles so that the tasters do not know which wine is in which bottle. At some agreed upon point in the proceedings, the tasters reveal what they think about the various bottles. Ideally, this revelation would take place by secret ballot, lest a taster’s choices be influenced by what he or she hears another taster say. But in any event, there are two standard ways of rating the wines. The older method is to assign them “grades” on a scale of, say, up to 100 points (Parker) or up to 20 points as in the famous face-off between California wines and French Bordeaux wines in 1976 (see Ashenfelter et al., 2007). As Ashenfelter at al. point out, this has the distinct disadvantage that a judge with greater dispersion in his or her grades will have a greater influence on the average score that each wine achieves.
A preferable method for rating the wines is to rank them, i.e., rank the most favored wine “1”, the second most favored wine “2”, etc. The winner, that is to say the wine that is liked “on the average” best by the group, is the one that achieves the lowest rank total. Of course, there will always be a wine that has a lower rank total than the other wines (with the proviso that there may be more than one wine tied for the lowest rank total) and we need to know whether this lowest rank total could have occurred by chance, even if there were no difference among the wines. Fortunately, a statistical significance test exists for the lowest rank total, originally due to Kramer (1956) and discussed in Quandt (2006).
But there are occasions when knowing which is the most favored wine and whether its performance is statistically significant is not all that we want to know. The typical case in point is when there are two types of wines being tasted, as in the California vs. French face-off, where we want to know whether the wines of type A are together and on the whole more favored than the wines of type B. The question we would want to ask then is whether the sum of the ranksums over the subset of wines comprising type A is significantly smaller than the sum of the ranksums over the wines comprising type B. The ranksums for the wines in any subgroup are not independent of each other and the distribution of the sum of the ranksums under the null hypothesis that the two groups are identical is not obvious. In the next section we produce critical values for the sum of ranksums by employing Monte Carlo experiments.
Making Sense of Italian Wine: Discovering Italy’s Greatest Wines and Best Values
Reviewed by Domenic Cicchetti
Tasting Pleasure: Confession of a Wine Lover
Reviewed by Robert N. Stavins