The Labor Market in the Seventeenth-Century Italian Art Sector
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.
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|Date of revision:||Nov 2011|
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