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Rules versus play in early modern art market


  • Neil DE MARCHI

    (Duke University, Durham, USA)


    (Duke University, Durham, USA)


The paper identifies and tries to account for the forms taken in selected art markets for the selling of paintings, as a response to specific features and constraints in the local regulatory environment. Our analytical historics cover 15"' century Bruges, 16th century Antwerp, 17"' century Amsterdam, and early 18"' century London and Paris. They yield some evidence that : (1) restrictive guilds did not succeed in stifling innovation, though innovators were forcecl to take indirect routes and to adopt forms not always the most efficient; (2) where circumstances allowed a choice of auction form (English or Dutch) the method selected matched the prior expérience of buyers (low or high respectively) ; and (3) in the single instance where guilds were open to cooperation across skill catégories this coincided with a series of marketing experiments and a range of novel products.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvre:2000023

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1989. "How Auctions Work for Wine and Art," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 23-36, Summer.
    2. Alan Beggs & Kathryn Graddy, 1997. "Declining Values and the Afternoon Effect: Evidence from Art Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(3), pages 544-565, Autumn.
    3. Bloom, David E. & Killingsworth, Mark R., 1985. "Correcting for truncation bias caused by a latent truncation variable," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 131-135, January.
    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. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
    6. Gourieroux, Christian & Pradel, Jacqueline, 1986. "Direct test of the rational expectation hypothesis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 265-284, April.
    7. Chanel, O. & Gerard, L.A. & Ginsburgh, V., 1992. "The Relevence of Hedonic Price Indices the Case of Paintings," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 92a19, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
    8. Wales, T J & Woodland, A D, 1980. "Sample Selectivity and the Estimation of Labor Supply Functions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(2), pages 437-468, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Erwin Dekker, 2015. "Two approaches to study the value of art and culture, and the emergence of a third," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 39(4), pages 309-326, November.

    More about this item


    Regulation; Institutions; Markets;

    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance


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