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

  • Elisabetta Lazzaro
  • Nathalie Moureau
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    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

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    Article provided by Cattaneo University (LIUC) in its journal The European Journal of Comparative Economics.

    Volume (Year): 10 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 2 (August)
    Pages: 159-176

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    Handle: RePEc:liu:liucej:v:10:y:2013:i:2:p:159-176
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    1. Chanont Banternghansa & Kathryn Graddy, 2011. "The impact of the Droit de Suite in the UK: an empirical analysis," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 81-100, May.
    2. 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.
    3. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
    4. Paul Klemperer, 2002. "What Really Matters in Auction Design," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 169-189, Winter.
    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, December.
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