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The Economics of Latin American Art: Creativity Patterns and Rates of Return

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  • Sebastian Edwards

Abstract

In this paper I use a large data set to analyze two aspects of the Latin American arts: (1) the nature of artistic creative process, and (2) Latin American art as an investment. I use data on auctions to understand the relation between artists' age and the value of their work. The analysis on creativity suggests that Latin American artists have followed very different patterns from that followed by U.S. artists. There is strong evidence suggesting that American artists born after 1920 did their best work at an earlier age than their older colleagues; exactly the opposite is true for the case of Latin America. Indeed, the results reported in this paper suggest that Latin American artists born after 1920 did their best work at a significantly older age than their colleagues from earlier cohorts. The analysis of art as an investment is based on the estimation of hedonic price indexes, and indicates that Latin American art has had a relatively high rate of return indeed much higher than that of other type of paintings. The results also indicate that returns on Latin American art have a very low degree of correlation that is, a very low beta relative to an international portfolio comprised of equities. This means that adding Latin American art will lower the overall risk of an international portfolio.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10302.

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Date of creation: Feb 2004
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Publication status: published as Edwards, Sebastian. “The Economics of Latin American Art: Creativity Patterns and Rates of Return.” Economia 4, 2 (Spring 2004): 1-35.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10302

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  1. Victor Ginsburgh & Pierre-Michel Menger, 1996. "Economics of the arts: selected essays," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/1655, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. 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.
  3. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
  4. David W. Galenson, 1997. "The Careers of Modern Artists: Evidence from Auctions of Contemporary Paintings," NBER Working Papers 6331, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Griliches, Zvi, 1994. "Productivity, R&D, and the Data Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 1-23, March.
  6. David W. Galenson, 1999. "The Lives of the Painters of Modern Life: The Careers of Artists in France from Impressionism to Cubism," NBER Working Papers 6888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Olivier Chanel & Louis-André Gérard-Varet & Victor Ginsburgh, 1996. "The relevance of hedonic price indices," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 1-24, March.
  8. David Galenson, 2000. "The Careers of Modern Artists," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 87-112, May.
  9. Pesando, James E, 1993. "Art as an Investment: The Market for Modern Prints," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1075-89, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Heinrich Ursprung & Christian Wiermann, 2008. "Reputation, Price, and Death: An Empirical Analysis of Art Price Formation," CESifo Working Paper Series 2237, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Andrew Worthington & Helen Higgs, 2006. "A Note on Financial Risk, Return and Asset Pricing in Australian Modern and Contemporary Art," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 73-84, March.
  3. Nauro F. Campos & Renata Leite Barbosa, 2009. "Paintings and numbers: an econometric investigation of sales rates, prices, and returns in Latin American art auctions," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(1), pages 28-51, January.
  4. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:26:y:2006:i:3:p:1-13 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Richard Agnello & Xiaowen Xu, 2006. "Art Prices and Race: Paintings by African American Artists and Their White Contemporaries," Working Papers 06-06, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. Richard J. Agnello, 2006. "Do U.S. Paintings Follow the CAPM? Findings Disaggregated by Subject, Artist, and Value of the Work," Working Papers 06-02, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
  8. Joonwoo Nahm, 2010. "Price determinants and genre effects in the Korean art market: a partial linear analysis of size effect," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 34(4), pages 281-297, November.
  9. Addison, Tony, 2006. "The International Mobility of Cultural Talent," Working Paper Series RP2006/108, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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