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The economics of aesthetics and record prices for art since 1701

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  • Spaenjers, Christophe
  • Goetzmann, William N.
  • Mamonova, Elena

Abstract

Aggregate art price patterns mask a lot of underlying variation—both in the time series and in the cross-section. We argue that, to increase our understanding of the market for aesthetics, it is helpful to take a micro perspective on the formation of art prices, and acknowledge that each artwork gives rise to a market for trading in its private-value benefits. We discuss relevant recent literature, and illustrate the potential of this approach through a historical study of record prices for art at auction since 1701.

Suggested Citation

  • Spaenjers, Christophe & Goetzmann, William N. & Mamonova, Elena, 2015. "The economics of aesthetics and record prices for art since 1701," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 79-94.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:57:y:2015:i:c:p:79-94
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2015.03.003
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    Cited by:

    1. Coslor, Erica & Spaenjers, Christophe, 2016. "Organizational and epistemic change: The growth of the art investment field," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 48-62.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Art; Auctions; Price formation; Price indexes; Private values; Record prices;

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature

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