Many products in the European Union are rooted in the cultural and social heritage of their home region and possess unique distinctive qualities due to their geographical origin. To emphasize the link between such products and their origin, a geographic name is typically included in the product’s name such as “Murano” glass, “Champagne” wine. Such references are traditionally valued by consumers. However, producers from other territories may try to imitate features of the traditional products to “free-ride” on the good reputation.
Within this context, the study assessed the value of so-called sui generis geographical indications (GI) for non-food products through three main objectives:
Evaluate the effectiveness of GI protection in limiting the availability of non-authentic products;
Assess the value of GI protection to consumers and impact on consumer search costs for authentic products with and without explicit GI protection; and
Identify the value of GI protection to producers of authentic products.
The first phase of the study assessed the literature and maped 300 products for which GI protection could be applicable. In a second step, a sub-set of 25 products from across the EU were analyzed in-depth through mystery shopping, a behavioral experiment and an estimation of the value of GI protection for producers through expert interviews.
Within the consortium, ConPolicy was responsible for the design and analysis of the experiment to assess how consumers perceive GI-protected products.
The following were elicited:
willingness-to-pay for authentic products with sui generis GI protection and those under other protection regimes;
the perceived authenticity of products; and
potential savings in search costs resulting from GI certification.
The study was finalized in December 2019. The final report was published on the website of the European Commission and may be found here.