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American Economic Review: Vol. 101 No. 3 (May 2011)

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Isolating the Symbolic Implications of Employee Mobility: Price Increases after Hiring Winemakers from Prominent Wineries

Article Citation

Roberts, Peter W., Mukti Khaire, and Christopher I. Rider. 2011. "Isolating the Symbolic Implications of Employee Mobility: Price Increases after Hiring Winemakers from Prominent Wineries." American Economic Review, 101(3): 147-51.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.101.3.147

Abstract

Because wines are aged for several years before they are released, newly hired winemakers arrive as wines made by their predecessors enter the market. An analysis of winemaker hiring events reveals that wines released right after a new winemaker's arrival from a prominent competitor are priced significantly higher than corresponding wines released in the preceding year. However, the wines released before and after the hiring event are indistinguishable in terms of quality. These findings isolate a "purely symbolic" effect of employee mobility, which affirm sociological accounts of markets—under conditions of uncertainty, inter-organizational affiliations condition producers' returns to quality demonstrations.

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Authors

Roberts, Peter W. (Emory U)
Khaire, Mukti (Harvard U)
Rider, Christopher I. (Emory U)

JEL Classifications

L11: Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
L66: Food; Beverages; Cosmetics; Tobacco; Wine and Spirits
J23: Labor Demand
J43: Agricultural Labor Markets
Q13: Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness


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