Credibility and Economic Value in the Visual Arts
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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