Australian Art Market Prices during the Global Financial Crisis and Two Earlier Decades

26 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2020

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 24, 2010


This study constructs a quarterly hedonic price index using 64,203 artworks, by seventy-one well-known modern and contemporary Australian artists, sold at auction houses over the period 1986-2009. The hedonic regression model includes characteristics such as name and living status of the artist, the size and medium of the painting, and the auction house, quarter and year in which the painting was sold. The resulting index indicates that returns on Australian fine-art averaged one percent in nominal terms over the period from quarter one 1986 to quarter four 2009 with a standard deviation of seventeen percent. During the global financial crisis spanning quarter one 2008 and quarter four 2009, the average art returns declined in nominal terms by close to six percent with a standard deviation of twenty-one percent. This study also shows that over the entire period the art market only marginally underperformed the stock and housing markets. The low correlations between these markets suggest the benefits of portfolio diversification.

Keywords: Art prices, hedonic price index, Australia, global financial crisis

JEL Classification: C23, C33, G11.

Suggested Citation

Higgs, Helen, Australian Art Market Prices during the Global Financial Crisis and Two Earlier Decades (May 24, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Helen Higgs (Contact Author)

Griffith University ( email )

170 Kessels Road
Nathan, QLD 4111
61737357732 (Phone)
61737353719 (Fax)

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