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The Labor Market in the Seventeenth-Century Italian Art Sector

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  • Federico Etro

    ()

  • Silvia Marchesi

    ()

  • Laura Pagani

    ()

Abstract

We analyze the labor market for painters in Baroque Rome using unique panel data on primary sales of still lifes, portraits, genre paintings, landscapes and figurative paintings. In line with the traditional artistic hierarchy of genres, average price differentials between them were high. We identify supply and demand factors related to prices of paintings. The panel dimension of the dataset and its matched painter-patron nature allows us to evaluate the extent to which price heterogeneity is related to unobservable characteristics of painters and patrons. We find that most of the inter-genre price differential is explained by the variation in average artist heterogeneity across genres. This suggests that the market allocated artists between artistic genres to the point of equalizing the marginal return of each genre. We also explain residual price differences in terms of efficiency wage, signalling and incentive mechanisms to induce effort in the production of artistic quality.

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File URL: http://dipeco.economia.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper215.pdf
File Function: First version, 2011
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 215.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision: Nov 2011
Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:215

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Keywords: Art market; Occupational choice; Wage equalization; Signalling;

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References

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  1. De Marchi, Neil, 1995. "The role of Dutch auctions and lotteries in shaping the art market(s) of 17th century Holland," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 203-221, October.
  2. Marianne Bertrand & Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2010. "Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 228-55, July.
  3. David W. Galenson & Bruce A. Weinberg, 1999. "Age and the Quality of Work: The Case of Modern American Painters," NBER Working Papers 7122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Mellow, Wesley, 1982. "Employer Size and Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(3), pages 495-501, August.
  5. Federico Etro & Laura Pagani, 2012. "The Market for Paintings in Italy during the Seventeenth Century," Working Papers 217, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2012.
  6. Goldin, Claudia D. & Bertrand, Marianne & Katz, Lawrence F., 2010. "Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors," Scholarly Articles 8810041, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. David W. Galenson & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2001. "Creating Modern Art: The Changing Careers of Painters in France from Impressionism to Cubism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1063-1071, September.
  8. Weiss, Andrew W, 1980. "Job Queues and Layoffs in Labor Markets with Flexible Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 526-38, June.
  9. Galenson, David W., 1982. "Artists and Artisans in Delft: A Socio-Economic Study of the Seventeenth Century. By John Michael Montias. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982. pp. xvi, 424. $36.50 cloth, $16.50 paper," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(04), pages 936-937, December.
  10. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Federico Etro & Laura Pagani, 2012. "The Market for Paintings in the Venetian Republic from Renaissance to Rococò," Working Papers 2012_10, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".

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