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Accepted Paper:

Of taxes and bottles: bureaucracy in Turkey’s boutique winemaking  

Author:

Atak Ayaz (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID))

Paper short abstract:

By highlighting consumers' reactions to taxes and "the wine bureaucracy" in Turkey, this paper questions the relations between producers and consumers that re-shape the trust-based relationship and value in the food/wine sector.

Paper long abstract:

Turkey's small-scale and quality-oriented wine industry only dates to the late 1990s and early 2000s. Even though only thirty years passed, consumers not only show interest in the taste of bottles but also are well-informed about the "book-keeping" of wineries and the costs of production. At the beginning of July 2020, Turkey announced the latest semi-annual hike in special consumption tax, which is responsible for exorbitant increases in the price of alcohol. Soon after, a Facebook post occurred in a wine aficionados' group that hosts numerous wine consumers and high-end producers from Turkey. Following detailed mathematical outcomes of the recent tax addition, the author stated that they were ready to boycott wineries that were implementing the rise by drastically increasing their bottle prices.

Although consumption taxes are ordinary in numerous countries, its level on all kinds of alcohol products in Turkey is higher than the EU's average. This can be read as the indicator of the stance of the ruling Islamic conservatist and pro-capitalist Justice and Development Party (AKP) toward alcohol production. In this paper, I focus not only on the utilization of taxes by state authorities to support their ideologies but also discuss how producers instrumentalize taxes to legitimize the pricing of their bottles. By highlighting consumers' reactions to taxes and "the wine bureaucracy" in Turkey, this paper questions the relations between producers and consumers that lie at the center of new-consumerism and ecologies of production (Paxson 2013) that re-shape the trust-based relationship and value in the food/wine sector.

Panel Res05
Tax matters: are rules made to be broken?