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Art as an Investment and Conspicuous Consumption Good

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  • Benjamin R. Mandel

Abstract

This paper provides a simple and empirically plausible model of artworks as investment vehicles. It reconciles the observation that average financial returns for collectibles are low and volatile with the theory of consumption-based asset pricing. Art assets are appealing both for their ability to transfer consumption over time and for their use as signals of wealth, as in the literature on the demand for luxuries. Adding art value to utility, returns also reflect this "conspicuous consumption" dividend; as a result, average financial returns are low. Risk premia for artworks are predicted to be modest or even negative. (JEL G11, Z11)

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin R. Mandel, 2009. "Art as an Investment and Conspicuous Consumption Good," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1653-1663, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:4:p:1653-63
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.4.1653
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature

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