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The Economics of Aesthetics and Three Centuries of Art Price Records

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  • Spaenjers , Christophe

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  • Goetzmann , William

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Abstract

Aggregate art price patterns mask a lot of underlying variation — both in the time series and in the cross-section. The authors argue that, to increase our understanding of the market for aesthetics, it is helpful to take a micro perspective on the formation of art prices, and acknowledge that each artwork gives rise to a market for trading in its private-value benefits. They discuss relevant recent literature, and illustrate the potential of this approach through a historical study of art price records between 1701 and 2014. Their newly constructed series also points to the importance of developments in the industrial organization of the art market for long-term price trends.

Suggested Citation

  • Spaenjers , Christophe & Goetzmann , William, 2014. "The Economics of Aesthetics and Three Centuries of Art Price Records," HEC Research Papers Series 1055, HEC Paris.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebg:heccah:1055
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    art market; auctions; art prices; records; private values;

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • N00 - Economic History - - General - - - General
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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