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“Better an egg today than a hen tomorrow” on the implications of deaccess policies for donations to museums

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  • Luigi Di Gaetano

    () (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (Italian Competition Authority))

  • Isidoro Mazza

    () (University of Catania)

Abstract

Abstract Severe budget cuts in the cultural sectors of many countries have spurred disparate suggestions for alternative sources available to public institutions. Deaccessioning may be an option, although controversial, to guarantee the survival of cultural institutions. This paper addresses the consequences that deaccessioning may have on donations of artworks to museums, by developing a sequential game with incomplete information. We investigate the interactions between donors and museums, when the former is uncertain about the commitment of a museum not to deaccess part of its endowment in the future. Our analysis shows that deaccessioning may reduce art donations to museums. Interestingly, public grants to museums cause a negative externality to a committed museum, which experiences a reduction in donations. Results provide intuitions for the widespread resistance to deaccessioning of museum associations, for their efforts to enforce common regulation restricting the use of proceeds to the acquisition of art, and also for the proliferation of private art museums.

Suggested Citation

  • Luigi Di Gaetano & Isidoro Mazza, 2017. "“Better an egg today than a hen tomorrow” on the implications of deaccess policies for donations to museums," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 41(3), pages 237-258, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jculte:v:41:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10824-015-9262-5
    DOI: 10.1007/s10824-015-9262-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Glazer, Amihai & Konrad, Kai A, 1996. "A Signaling Explanation for Charity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 1019-1028, September.
    2. Towse,Ruth, 2010. "A Textbook of Cultural Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521888721, June.
    3. Harbaugh, William T., 1998. "What do donations buy?: A model of philanthropy based on prestige and warm glow," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 269-284, February.
    4. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-477, June.
    5. Martin Sefton & Robert Shupp & James M. Walker, 2007. "The Effect Of Rewards And Sanctions In Provision Of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(4), pages 671-690, October.
    6. Towse,Ruth, 2010. "A Textbook of Cultural Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521717021, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Deaccessioning; Museums; Asymmetric information; Sequential game;

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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