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Risk, return and portfolio diversification in major painting markets: The application of conventional financial analysis to unconventional investments

Author

Listed:
  • Andrew C. Worthington
  • Helen Higgs

Abstract

This paper examines risk, return and the prospects for portfolio diversification among major painting and financial markets over the period 1976-2001. The art markets examined are Contemporary Masters, French Impressionists, Modern European, 19th Century European, Old Masters, Surrealists, 20th Century English and Modern US paintings. The financial markets comprise US Treasury bills, corporate and government bonds and small and large company stocks. In common with the literature in this area, the study finds that the returns on paintings are much lower and the risks much higher than conventional investment markets. Moreover, while low correlations of returns suggest that opportunities for portfolio diversification in art works alone and in conjunction with equity markets exist, the construction of Markowitz mean-variance efficient portfolios indicates that no diversification gains are provided by art in financial asset portfolios. However, diversification benefits in portfolios comprised solely of art works are possible, with Contemporary Masters, 19th Century European, Old Masters and 20th Century English paintings dominating the efficient frontier during the period in question.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew C. Worthington & Helen Higgs, 2003. "Risk, return and portfolio diversification in major painting markets: The application of conventional financial analysis to unconventional investments," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 148, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
  • Handle: RePEc:qut:dpaper:148
    as

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    File URL: http://external-apps.qut.edu.au/business/documents/discussionPapers/2003/DP%20148%20Worthinton%20&%20Higgs.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Czujack, Corinna & Flôres Junior, Renato Galvão & Ginsburgh, Victor, 1995. "On long-run price comovements between paintings and prints," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 269, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    2. Renato Flôres & Victor Ginsburgh & Philippe Jeanfils, 1999. "Long- and Short-Term Portfolio Choices of Paintings," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 23(3), pages 191-208, August.
    3. 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.
    4. Buelens, Nathalie & Ginsburgh, Victor, 1993. "Revisiting Baumol's 'art as floating crap game'," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 1351-1371, October.
    5. Ginsburgh, Victor & Jeanfils, Philippe, 1995. "Long-term comovements in international markets for paintings," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 538-548, April.
    6. G. Candela & A. Scorcu, 1997. "A Price Index for Art Market Auctions," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 21(3), pages 175-196, September.
    7. Luc Renneboog, 2002. "The monetary appreciation of paintings: from realism to Magritte," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 331-358, May.
    8. 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;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 19(1), pages 7-21, June.
    9. 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 1370-1376, December.
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    11. 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.
    12. Luc Renneboog & Tom Van Houtte, 2000. "From realism to surrealism: investing in Belgian art," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 165, pages 69-106.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Art and collectibles; Risk and return; Markowitz efficient frontier; Portfolio;

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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