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Auctioneers vs. commissaires-priseurs: The carnival mirror of profession regulation in the international art market

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  • Elisabetta Lazzaro
  • Nathalie Moureau

Abstract

This paper is a comparative analysis of the recent evolution of the French and the Anglo-Saxon profession regulations of auctioneers in terms of entry barriers and exercise of the profession. Firstly, following Stephen and Love's (1999) framework of the regulation of legal profession, we highlight the differences between regulations focussing on different levels (entry restrictions, advertising, fees, fee contracts, and organisational form). We show that French commissaire-priseurs and Anglo-Saxon auctioneers are bounded to quite opposed rules, relating to both the level of regulation (licensing against registration or certification) and the scope of this regulation. Secondly, we try to assess the success of these regulations in terms of economic efficiency by comparing the international markets shares of French and Anglo-Saxon auctioneers. We further highlight how a weak regulation can disturb prices mechanisms and, in some cases, favour speculation. The discussion of some emblematic scandals highlights distortions provoked by a strong, as well as a weak regulation

Suggested Citation

  • Elisabetta Lazzaro & Nathalie Moureau, 2013. "Auctioneers vs. commissaires-priseurs: The carnival mirror of profession regulation in the international art market," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 10(2), pages 159-176, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:liu:liucej:v:10:y:2013:i:2:p:159-176
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    File URL: http://eaces.liuc.it/18242979201302/182429792013100203.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paul Klemperer, 2002. "What Really Matters in Auction Design," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 169-189, Winter.
    2. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
    3. Ginsburgh, Victor, 2005. "The Economic Consequences of Droit De Suite in the European Union," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1-2), pages 61-71, March/Sep.
    4. Orley Ashenfelter & Kathryn Graddy, 2003. "Auctions and the Price of Art," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(3), pages 763-787, September.
    5. Neil DE MARCHI & Hans J. VAN MIEGROET, 2000. "Rules versus play in early modern art market," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 2000023, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    6. Morris M. Kleiner, 2006. "Licensing Occupations: Ensuring Quality or Restricting Competition?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number lo.
    7. Chanont Banternghansa & Kathryn Graddy, 2011. "The impact of the Droit de Suite in the UK: an empirical analysis," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 35(2), pages 81-100, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Art market; Profession regulation; Auctioneers; Cross-country analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • L43 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Legal Monopolies and Regulation or Deregulation
    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions

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