We examine a general masterpiece effect (ME) in art markets, by estimating implicit prices of artwork's characteristics and rates of return across the price distribution by means of hedonic quantile regressions, in contrast to the conventional focus on the “high-end” distribution. Estimation is on a dataset covering 44,912 fine artwork auction lots for the 2009–21 period in the South African fine art market. By confirming that hedonic characteristics, rates of return, and individual artist fixed effects are statistically significantly associated with prices and show inter-percentile variation, we find support for a weak general ME: differential implicit prices of characteristics and rates of return hold over the full price distribution. The result raises questions surrounding the efficiency of the art market, such that incorporation of artwork into investment portfolios should be sensitive to the price distribution.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics and Econometrics