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Credibility and Economic Value in the Visual Arts

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  • Holger Bonus
  • Dieter Ronte
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    Abstract

    The paper states that the quality of visual arts cannot be measured objectively. An artist must be credible to the public in order to generate economic value. How is credibility and thus economic value generated on the market? To judge the quality of arts, it takes experts. They form a worldwide network relationship and apply cultural knowledge, a highly specific type of knowledge which requires lifelong learning. Cultural knowledge is only in part of a factual nature and includes subjective elements. Since the public cannot in general ascertain the quality of an artist's oeuvre directly, experts must themselves be credible to the public in order to lend credibility to a given oeuvre. It is shown that the process by which experts generate public credibility for a given oeuvre is path dependent, i.e., may by chance end up at inferior solutions. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1023/A:1007338319088
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Cultural Economics.

    Volume (Year): 21 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June)
    Pages: 103-118

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jculte:v:21:y:1997:i:2:p:103-118

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    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100284

    Related research

    Keywords: cultural economics; new institutional economics;

    References

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    1. Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
    2. Goetzmann, William N, 1993. "Accounting for Taste: Art and the Financial Markets over Three Centuries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1370-76, December.
    3. Darby, Michael R & Karni, Edi, 1973. "Free Competition and the Optimal Amount of Fraud," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 67-88, April.
    4. Nelson, Phillip, 1970. "Information and Consumer Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 311-29, March-Apr.
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    Cited by:
    1. Merijn Rengers & Olav Velthuis, 2002. "Determinants of Prices for Contemporary Art in Dutch Galleries, 1992–1998," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 1-28, February.
    2. Nandini Srivastava & Stephen Satchell, 2012. "Are There Bubbles in the Art Market? The Detection of Bubbles when Fair Value is Unobservable," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 1209, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
    3. Michael Hutter, 1998. "Communication Productivity: A Major Cause for the Changing Output of Art Museums," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 99-112, June.
    4. Susanne Schönfeld & Andreas Reinstaller, 2007. "The effects of gallery and artist reputation on prices in the primary market for art: a note," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 143-153, June.
    5. Nela Filimon & Jordi López-Sintas & Carlos Padrós-Reig, 2011. "A test of Rosen’s and Adler’s theories of superstars," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 137-161, May.
    6. Susanne Schönfeld & Andreas Reinstaller, 2005. "The effects of gallery and artist reputation on prices in the primary market for art," Department of Economics Working Papers wuwp090, Vienna University of Economics, Department of Economics.
    7. Michael Hutter & Christian Knebel & Gunnar Pietzner & Maren Schäfer, 2007. "Two games in town: a comparison of dealer and auction prices in contemporary visual arts markets," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 247-261, December.
    8. Michael Rushton, 2000. "Public Funding of Controversial Art," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 267-282, November.

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