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Art Market Inefficiency

  • Geraldine David
  • Kim Oosterlinck
  • Ariane Szafarz

Art is often used as an investment vehicle. Given the importance of market efficiency in finance, we use a large auction-based index to test whether the art market is weakly efficient. Evidence reveals that returns on artworks exhibit high positive auto-correlation. We attribute this result to price truncation resulting from unobservable reserve prices in auctions. We conclude that the art market is not efficient, mainly because price formation is opaque to outsiders who lack information on unsold artworks.

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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series ULB Institutional Repository with number 2013/145737.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming
Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/145737
Contact details of provider: Postal: CP135, 50, avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles
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  1. 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.
  2. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  3. 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.
  4. Ashenfelter, Orley C & Graddy, Kathryn, 2011. "Sale Rates and Price Movements in Art Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 8219, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. 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.
  6. Jianping Mei & Michael Moses, 2002. "Art as an Investment and the Underperformance of Masterpieces," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1656-1668, December.
  7. Andrew W. Lo & A. Craig MacKinlay, 1987. "Stock Market Prices Do Not Follow Random Walks: Evidence From a Simple Specification Test," NBER Working Papers 2168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Fama, Eugene F, 1970. "Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 383-417, May.
  9. Erdos, Péter & Ormos, Mihály, 2010. "Random walk theory and the weak-form efficiency of the US art auction prices," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1062-1076, May.
  10. Collins, Alan & Scorcu, Antonello & Zanola, Roberto, 2009. "Reconsidering hedonic art price indexes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 57-60, August.
  11. Renneboog, L.D.R. & Spaenjers, C., 2009. "Buying Beauty : On Prices and Returns in the Art Market," Discussion Paper 2009-15, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  12. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1989. "How Auctions Work for Wine and Art," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 23-36, Summer.
  13. 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.
  14. Fabien Bocart & Kim Oosterlinck, 2011. "Discoveries of Fakes: their Impact on the Art Market," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/142704, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  15. Dickey, David A & Fuller, Wayne A, 1981. "Likelihood Ratio Statistics for Autoregressive Time Series with a Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 1057-72, June.
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