We analyze art pricing in a unique dataset on Paris auctions between 700s and 800s. Prices reflect the objective features of the paintings and of the sale, and they reveal a substantial death effect, with upward jumps in the years after the death of the artists. Both the hedonic and repeated sale price indexes show a declining pattern for the price of paintings (relative to the cost of living) starting with the French Revolution. On this basis, we analyze the emerging role and market power of art dealers and employ network theory to study whether they created rings to manipulate the outcome of the auctions for their profits. Dealers appear to have been divided into four main communities heavily trading between themselves and we find evidence of collusive behavior with lower hammer prices for buyers belonging to the same community of the dealers organizing the auction.
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Economics and Econometrics