The Economics of Aesthetics and Record Prices for Art since 1701

38 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2014 Last revised: 18 Jan 2016

Christophe Spaenjers

HEC Paris - Finance Department

William N. Goetzmann

Yale School of Management - International Center for Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Elena Mamonova

Independent

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 1, 2015

Abstract

Aggregate art price patterns mask a lot of underlying variation — both in the time series and in the cross-section. We argue that, to increase our understanding of the market for aesthetics, it is helpful to take a micro perspective on the formation of art prices, and acknowledge that each artwork gives rise to a market for trading in its private-value benefits. We discuss relevant recent literature, and illustrate the potential of this approach through a historical study of record prices for art at auction since 1701.

Keywords: art; auctions; price formation; price indexes; private values; record prices

JEL Classification: D10; D44; D84; G10; Z11

Suggested Citation

Spaenjers, Christophe and Goetzmann, William N. and Mamonova, Elena, The Economics of Aesthetics and Record Prices for Art since 1701 (March 1, 2015). Explorations in Economic History, Vol. 57, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2478687

Christophe Spaenjers (Contact Author)

HEC Paris - Finance Department ( email )

1 rue de la Liberation
Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, 78351
France

William N. Goetzmann

Yale School of Management - International Center for Finance ( email )

165 Whitney Ave.
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States
203-432-5950 (Phone)
203-436-9252 (Fax)

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Elena Mamonova

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

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