Licence to Dine

I was alerted to an interesting paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research: “Licence to Dine: 007 and the Real Exchange Rate” by Lee A. Craig, Julianne Treme & Thomas J. Weiss. Here’s the authors’ abstract:

“We constructed a time series of menu prices for the identifiable restaurants at which James Bond dined in France and the UK that yields one of the few international price series representing luxury services. This series enabled us to calculate a real exchange rate based on prices pertinent to international travelers. We also compiled a time series on the salary of workers in the British Civil Service at Grade 7, like Bond, from 1953 to 2019. Our results indicate that French restaurant prices increased faster than Grade 7 salaries over the entire period and changes in the British exchange rate were not favorable for British travelers. To dine weekly in France, during the 1950s and 1960s, Bond would have spent 18 percent of his salary; whereas over the course of the Euro era the same basket of luxury services would have required on average 26 percent of his salary. Finally, our data indicate a likely violation of the law of one price during both the Pound-Franc and Pound-Euro eras.”

It’s a fascinating study and well worth a read. I’ve touched on the cost of Bond’s meals in various articles on this website, but Craig, Treme and Weiss’s paper is the first systematic study of the food prices Bond would have paid. Click here to download a copy.

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