Art as a Wartime Investment: Conspicuous Consumption and Discretion

37 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2017

See all articles by Kim Oosterlinck

Kim Oosterlinck

Université Libre de Bruxelles - SBS-EM, CEB

Date Written: December 2017

Abstract

During World War II, artworks significantly outperformed all alternative investments in Occupied France. With the surge in demand for portable and easy‐to‐hide (discreet) assets such as artworks and collectible stamps, prices boomed. This suggests that discreet assets may be viewed as crypto‐currencies, demand for which varies depending on the environment and the need to hide value. Regarding art market valuation, this article argues that while some economic actors derive significant utility from conspicuous consumption, others value the discretion offered by artworks. Motives for purchasing art may thus vary over time.

Suggested Citation

Oosterlinck, Kim, Art as a Wartime Investment: Conspicuous Consumption and Discretion (December 2017). The Economic Journal, Vol. 127, Issue 607, pp. 2665-2701, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3088277 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12391

Kim Oosterlinck (Contact Author)

Université Libre de Bruxelles - SBS-EM, CEB ( email )

50 Avenue Roosevelt, CP114/03
Brussels 1050
Belgium

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