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Are Multiple Art Markets Rational?

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  • Leslie Singer
  • Gary Lynch

Abstract

We advance and subsequently test the proposition thatmarkets for fine art are rational, namely, that, inthe determination of price, traders make use of allrelevant art historical and critical information, asrevealed by hedonic content analysis, as well as allinformation on authenticity of the works offered forsale. If true, the proposition has consequences forpublic policy. Museums optimize choices among art historicallysignificant authentic paintings distributed asstochastic rare events in the tertiary market for art. Such paintings have few, if any, art historicallyequivalent substitutes, causing the demand for suchworks of art to be extremely inelastic. Museums tendto buy at the top of the information curve; payingprices which exceed market averages for similar art. As a result, society pays the cost of institutionalrisk aversion. In contrast, collectors often purchaseart before all art historical information is complete,and often earn a reward for assuming a risk due toincomplete information (Singer, 1991; Pomerhene, 1994).Collectors who can borrow to accumulate the highestcategory art can consume the services of their artcollection at zero cost. Stochastic transferfunctions fitted to time series of sales volume at thetwo top international auction houses confirm thehypothesis that the highest category of art is a quasisubstitute for financial instruments (liquid wealth). Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Suggested Citation

  • Leslie Singer & Gary Lynch, 1997. "Are Multiple Art Markets Rational?," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 21(3), pages 197-218, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jculte:v:21:y:1997:i:3:p:197-218
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1007447326729
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1023/A:1007447326729
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kasa, Kenneth, 1992. "Common stochastic trends in international stock markets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 95-124, February.
    2. Goetzmann, William N, 1993. "Accounting for Taste: Art and the Financial Markets over Three Centuries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1370-1376, December.
    3. Ginsburgh, Victor & Jeanfils, Philippe, 1995. "Long-term comovements in international markets for paintings," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 538-548, April.
    4. Olivier Chanel & Louis-André Gérard-Varet & Victor Ginsburgh, 1996. "The relevance of hedonic price indices," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 20(1), pages 1-24, March.
    5. Pesando, James E, 1993. "Art as an Investment: The Market for Modern Prints," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1075-1089, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Nandini Srivastava & Stephen Satchell, 2012. "Are There Bubbles in the Art Market? The Detection of Bubbles when Fair Value is Unobservable," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 1209, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
    2. Richard J. Agnello, 2002. "Investment Returns and Risk for Art: Evidence from Auctions of American Paintings," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 443-463, Fall.
    3. Jannett Highfill & Kevin O’Brien, 2007. "Bidding and prices for online art auctions: sofa art or investment," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 31(4), pages 279-292, December.
    4. Fabian Bocart & Ken Bastiaensen & Peter Cauwels, 2011. "The 1980s Price Bubble on (Post) Impressionism," ACEI Working Paper Series AWP-03-2011, Association for Cultural Economics International, revised Nov 2011.
    5. Masaki Katsuura, 2012. "Lead–lag relationship between household cultural expenditures and business cycles," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 36(1), pages 49-65, February.
    6. Bruno Frey, 1997. "Art Markets and Economics: Introduction," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 21(3), pages 165-173, September.
    7. Robert Ekelund & Rand Ressler & John Watson, 1998. "Estimates, Bias and “No Sales” in Latin-American Art Auctions, 1977–1996," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 22(1), pages 33-42, March.
    8. Aylin Seckin, "undated". "Art as an Investment under High Inflation: an Empirical Study on Turkish Paintings," EcoMod2006 272100081, EcoMod.

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