Love or Money? The Effects of Owner Motivation in the California Wine Industry

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Abstract

Models that assume only consumer tastes determine the characteristics of supply are restrictive; producers can gain utility from aspects of production and pay for deviating from demand by accepting lower financial returns. We model and measure motivations of California winery owners, and analyze their effects on quality and price. We find utility–maximizers are more likely to produce high quality and set higher quality–adjusted prices. Profit–oriented owners are less likely to produce high quality wines. These results suggest that the presence of hobbyists who enjoy producing high quality may lower financial returns in the segment and discourage profit–maximizers from locating there.

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