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The Labor Market in the Seventeenth-Century Italian Art Sector

Author

Listed:
  • Federico Etro

    ()

  • Silvia Marchesi

    ()

  • Laura Pagani

    ()

Abstract

We analyze the labor market for painters in Baroque Rome using unique panel data on primary sales of still lifes, portraits, genre paintings, landscapes and figurative paintings. In line with the traditional artistic hierarchy of genres, average price differentials between them were high. We identify supply and demand factors related to prices of paintings. The panel dimension of the dataset and its matched painter-patron nature allows us to evaluate the extent to which price heterogeneity is related to unobservable characteristics of painters and patrons. We find that most of the inter-genre price differential is explained by the variation in average artist heterogeneity across genres. This suggests that the market allocated artists between artistic genres to the point of equalizing the marginal return of each genre. We also explain residual price differences in terms of efficiency wage, signalling and incentive mechanisms to induce effort in the production of artistic quality.

Suggested Citation

  • Federico Etro & Silvia Marchesi & Laura Pagani, 2011. "The Labor Market in the Seventeenth-Century Italian Art Sector," Working Papers 215, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:215
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    File URL: http://dems.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper215.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John P. Haisken-DeNew & Christoph M. Schmidt, 2000. "Interindustry and Interregion Differentials: Mechanics and Interpretation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(3), pages 516-521, August.
    2. Etro, Federico & Pagani, Laura, 2012. "The Market for Paintings in Italy During the Seventeenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(02), pages 423-447, June.
    3. David Galenson, 2009. "Old masters and young geniuses: The two life cycles of human creativity," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 12, pages 1-9, May.
    4. Weiss, Andrew W, 1980. "Job Queues and Layoffs in Labor Markets with Flexible Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 526-538, June.
    5. David W. Galenson & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2000. "Age and the Quality of Work: The Case of Modern American Painters," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 761-777, August.
    6. Galenson, David W., 1982. "Artists and Artisans in Delft: A Socio-Economic Study of the Seventeenth Century. By John Michael Montias. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982. pp. xvi, 424. $36.50 cloth, $16.50 paper," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(04), pages 936-937, December.
    7. Marianne Bertrand & Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2010. "Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 228-255, July.
    8. De Marchi, Neil, 1995. "The role of Dutch auctions and lotteries in shaping the art market(s) of 17th century Holland," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 203-221, October.
    9. Mellow, Wesley, 1982. "Employer Size and Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(3), pages 495-501, August.
    10. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
    11. David W. Galenson & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2001. "Creating Modern Art: The Changing Careers of Painters in France from Impressionism to Cubism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1063-1071, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Federico Etro & Laura Pagani, 2013. "The market for paintings in the Venetian Republic from Renaissance to Rococò," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 37(4), pages 391-415, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Art market; Occupational choice; Wage equalization; Signalling;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature

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