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Art Collections and Taste in the Spanish Siglo de Oro

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  • Federico Etro
  • Elena Stepanova

Abstract

We analyze art pricing in a unique dataset on Madrid inventories between 1600 and 1750. Hedonic regressions reveal a number of interesting facts about the taste of Baroque Spanish collectors and the imports of foreign paintings. The hedonic price index shows an impressive increase in the price of paintings (relative to the cost of living) during the XVII century, in line with the Lopez hypothesis for which investment in art increases in wealthy societies without new productive investment opportunities. We examine price differentials between domestic and imported paintings: at the beginning of the century local works were priced substantially below imported paintings, but the price gap is gradually reduced during the century, with an increasing contribution of the younger painters. This is in line with a Schumpeterian hypothesis for which increasing demand induced increasing domestic quality, as priced by the market, and created the conditions for what is known as the Siglo de Oro of Spanish art.

Suggested Citation

  • Federico Etro & Elena Stepanova, 2015. "Art Collections and Taste in the Spanish Siglo de Oro," LEM Papers Series 2015/07, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2015/07
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Heinrich W. Ursprung & Christian Wiermann, 2011. "Reputation, Price, And Death: An Empirical Analysis Of Art Price Formation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(3), pages 697-715, July.
    3. Federico Etro & Silvia Marchesi & Laura Pagani, 2015. "The Labor Market In The Art Sector Of Baroque Rome," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(1), pages 365-387, January.
    4. Etro, Federico, 2018. "The Economics of Renaissance Art," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 78(02), pages 500-538, June.
    5. Federico Etro & Elena Stepanova, 2016. "Entry of painters in the Amsterdam market of the Golden Age," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 317-348, May.
    6. Federico Etro & Elena Stepanova, 2015. "The Market for Paintings in Paris between Rococo and Romanticism," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 28-50, February.
    7. Helen Higgs & John Forster, 2014. "The auction market for artworks and their physical dimensions: Australia—1986 to 2009," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 38(1), pages 85-104, February.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Drelichman, Mauricio, 2005. "The curse of Moctezuma: American silver and the Dutch disease," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 349-380, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:scotjp:v:64:y:2017:i:2:p:191-225 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Federico Etro & Elena Stepanova, 2016. "Entry of painters in the Amsterdam market of the Golden Age," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 317-348, May.
    3. repec:cup:jechis:v:78:y:2018:i:02:p:500-538_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Federico Etro & Elena Stepanova, 2017. "Art Auctions and Art Investment in the Golden Age of British Painting," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 64(2), pages 191-225, May.
    5. Etro, Federico, 2018. "The Economics of Renaissance Art," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 78(02), pages 500-538, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hedonic price index; Lopez hypothesis; Schumpeterian hypothesis;

    JEL classification:

    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature
    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design

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