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A Model for Pricing the Italian Contemporary Art Paintings at Auction

  • Nicoletta Marinelli
  • Giulio Palomba

This paper aims to model the auction prices of Italian contemporary art paintings. The contribution to the existing literature is twofold concerning both the methodological and the conceptual aspects. From the former point of view, we use the two-stages Heckit model which allows us to take into account the sample selection bias deriving from the "buying" risk, that affects transactions at auction. From the latter point of view, we have found that some sale characteristics such as auction house prestige and year of sale, are more important than the physical aspects of the paintings. Moreover, some artistic characteristics, the artist's name and their living status are also relevant. An estimation using pre-sale evaluation by experts has also been tried: this explanatory variable seems to be the main driver regarding both the probability of having an unsold painting and the auction price levels reached by sold works. Nevertheless, the hypothesis of its sufficiency is rejected and some problems related to the economic interpretation of the results arise. The whole analysis is carried out after creating a new dataset of 2817 transactions which took place at the most important auction houses between 1990 and 2006.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Ignacio Díaz-Emparanza & Petr Mariel & María Victoria Esteban (ed.), 2009. "Econometrics with gretl. Proceedings of the gretl Conference 2009," UPV/EHU Books, Universidad del País Vasco - Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, edition 1, number 01, Jul-Oct.
  • This item is provided by Universidad del País Vasco - Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales in its series EHUCHAPS with number 01-07.
    Handle: RePEc:ehu:ehucha:01-07
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    Order Information: Postal: Dpto. de Economía Aplicada III (Econometría y Estadística), Facultad de CC. Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad del País Vasco, Avda. Lehendakari Aguirre 83, 48015 Bilbao, Spain
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    8. Helen Higgs & Andrew Worthington, 2005. "Financial Returns and Price Determinants in the Australian Art Market, 1973-2003," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 81(253), pages 113-123, 06.
    9. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    10. Luc Renneboog, 2002. "The monetary appreciation of paintings: from realism to Magritte," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 331-358, May.
    11. Olivier Chanel & Louis-André Gérard-Varlet & Victor Ginsburgh, 1996. "The relevance of hedonic price indices: the case of paintings," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/1715, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    12. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119.
    13. Ginsburgh, V. & Jeanfils, P., . "Long-term comovements in international markets for paintings," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1147, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    14. A. Collins & A. E. Scorcu & R. Zanola, 2007. "Sample Selection Bias and Time Instability of Hedonic Art Price Indexes," Working Papers 610, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    15. Richard Agnello & Renée Pierce, 1996. "Financial returns, price determinants, and genre effects in American art investment," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 359-383, December.
    16. 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 1370-76, December.
    17. Skeels, Christopher L. & Vella, Francis, 1999. "A Monte Carlo investigation of the sampling behavior of conditional moment tests in Tobit and Probit models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 275-294, October.
    18. Madeleine de la Barre & Sophie Docclo & Victor Ginsburgh, 1994. "Returns of impressionist, modern and contemporary European painters, 1962-1991," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/1723, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    19. Jianping Mei & Michael Moses, 2002. "Art as an Investment and the Underperformance of Masterpieces," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1656-1668, December.
    20. Andrew Worthington & Helen Higgs, 2006. "A Note on Financial Risk, Return and Asset Pricing in Australian Modern and Contemporary Art," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 73-84, March.
    21. Greene, William H, 1981. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error: Comment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 795-98, May.
    22. Locatelli-Biey, Marilena & Zanola, Roberto, 2003. "The market for Picasso prints: an hybrid model approach," POLIS Working Papers 34, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    23. Zanola, Roberto, 2007. "The Dynamics of Art Prices: The Selection Corrected Repeat-Sales Index," POLIS Working Papers 76, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    24. 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.
    25. Douglas Hodgson & Keith Vorkink, 2004. "Asset pricing theory and the valuation of Canadian paintings," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(3), pages 629-655, August.
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