Eating: It’s complicated

Eating is not as simple as many people seem to believe. An upcoming seminar (at Harvard University, on September 7) promises to drive home that point (which is actually a complicated set of points):

On September 7, 2011, Program for Evolutionary Dynamics Seminar Series Presents
Kitchen confidential? Knowledge transfer and social norms in gourmet cuisine.
by Professor Andrew King [pictured here]

In this paper, we explore the conditions for knowhow transfer in gourmet cuisine, an industry characterized by rapid innovation and weak protection of intellectual property (IP). We investigate whether bilateral exchanges are facilitated either by the existence of norms that reduce the risk of misappropriation or by IP strategies that decrease the potential for loss. We disentangle how these different mechanisms interact. Using evidence from a scenario-based field experiment, we demonstrate that norms play a role in governing the use of transferred information. We also explore how norms are maintained in communities and how they may influence know-how transfer among firms in a geographic cluster.