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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. Olivier Chanel & Louis-André Gérard-Varlet & Victor Ginsburgh, 1994. "Prices and returns on paintings: an exercise on how to price the priceless," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/1721, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. 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.
  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. 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.
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  6. Robert Ekelund & Rand Ressler & John Watson, 1998. "Estimates, Bias and “No Sales” in Latin-American Art Auctions, 1977–1996," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 33-42, March.
  7. Charles R. Hulten, 2003. "Price hedonics: a critical review," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sep, pages 5-15.
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  16. Sebastian Edwards, 2004. "The Economics of Latin American Art: Creativity Patterns and Rates of Return," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  17. Jianping Mei & Michael Moses, 2005. "Vested Interest and Biased Price Estimates: Evidence from an Auction Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(5), pages 2409-2435, October.
  18. Dominique Sagot-Duvauroux, 2003. "Art prices," Chapters, in: A Handbook of Cultural Economics, chapter 5 Edward Elgar.
  19. Chanel, O. & Gerard-Varet, L. A. & Ginsburgh, V., . "Prices and returns on paintings: an exercice on how to price the priceless," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1106, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  20. Gian Maria Tomat, 2002. "Durable goods, price indexes and quality change: an application to automobile prices in Italy, 1988-1998," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 439, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  21. 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.
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  23. Throsby, David, 1994. "The Production and Consumption of the Arts: A View of Cultural Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 1-29, March.
  24. Pesando, James E, 1993. "Art as an Investment: The Market for Modern Prints," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1075-89, December.
  25. 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.
  26. Susanne Schönfeld & Andreas Reinstaller, 2007. "The effects of gallery and artist reputation on prices in the primary market for art: a note," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 143-153, June.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. Calin Valsan, 2002. "Canadian versus American Art: What Pays Off and Why," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 203-216, August.
  30. Frey, Bruno S. & Eichenberger, Reiner, 1995. "On the rate of return in the art market: Survey and evaluation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 528-537, April.
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