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Paintings and Numbers: An Econometric Investigation of Sales Rates, Prices and Returns in Latin American Art Auctions

  • Campos, Nauro F

    ()

    (Brunel University)

  • Leite Barbosa, Renata

    (affiliation not available)

This paper uses a unique data set of Latin American paintings auctioned by Sotheby's between 1995 and 2002 to investigate several puzzles from the recent auctions literature. Our results suggest that: (1) the reputation of an artist and the provenance of the artwork, omitted variables in most previous studies, seem to be more important determinants of the sale price of a painting than standard factors, such as medium and size, (2) the opinion of art experts seems to be of limited use in predicting whether or not an artwork sells at auction, (3) there is little supporting evidence for the widespread notion that the best or more expensive artworks tend to generate above average returns (the “masterpiece effect”), although (4) there is strong evidence in our data for the declining price anomaly, or “afternoon effect.”

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3445.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3445
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  1. Baumol, William J, 1986. "Unnatural Value: Or Art Investment as Floating Crap Game," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 10-14, May.
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  3. Beggs, A. & Graddy, K., 1996. "Declining Values and the Afternoon Effect: Evidence from Art Auctions," Economics Series Working Papers 99184, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. O. Chanel & L. A. Gerard-Varet & V. Ginsburgh, 1994. "Prices and Returns on Paintings: An Exercise on How to Price the Priceless," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 19(1), pages 7-21, June.
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  11. Tomat, Gian Maria, 2002. "Durable goods, price indexes and quality change: an application to automobile prices in Italy, 1988-1998," Working Paper Series 0118, European Central Bank.
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  14. Sebastian Edwards, 2004. "The Economics of Latin American Art: Creativity Patterns and Rates of Return," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  15. Benjamin J. Burton & Joyce P. Jacobsen, 1999. "Measuring Returns on Investments in Collectibles," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 193-212, Fall.
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  18. 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.
  19. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1989. "How Auctions Work for Wine and Art," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 23-36, Summer.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Susanne Schönfeld & Andreas Reinstaller, 2005. "The effects of gallery and artist reputation on prices in the primary market for art," Department of Economics Working Papers wuwp090, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
  23. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Auctions: Theory and Practice," Economics Papers 2004-W09, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  24. David Galenson, 2000. "The Careers of Modern Artists," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 87-112, May.
  25. Nerlove, Marc, 1995. "Hedonic price functions and the measurement of preferences: The case of Swedish wine consumers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1697-1716, December.
  26. Dominique Sagot-Duvauroux, 2003. "Art prices," Chapters, in: A Handbook of Cultural Economics, chapter 5 Edward Elgar.
  27. Charles R. Hulten, 2003. "Price hedonics: a critical review," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sep, pages 5-15.
  28. Jack Triplett, 2004. "Handbook on Hedonic Indexes and Quality Adjustments in Price Indexes: Special Application to Information Technology Products," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2004/9, OECD Publishing.
  29. Gerard-Varet, Louis-Andre, 1995. "On pricing the priceless: Comments on the economics of the visual art market," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 509-518, April.
  30. R. Ekelund & Rand Ressler & John Watson, 2000. "The ``Death-Effect'' in Art Prices: A Demand-Side Exploration," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 283-300, November.
  31. Ginsburgh, Victor & Mei, Jianping & Moses, Michael, 2006. "The Computation of Prices Indices," Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture, Elsevier.
  32. Ginsburgh, V. & van Ours, J.C., 2003. "How to Organize Sequential Auctions : Results of a Natural Experiment by Christie's," Discussion Paper 2003-25, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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