nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2011‒06‒18
two papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
University Amedeo Avogadro

  1. Stealing History: How does Provenance Affect the Price of Antiquities? By Katherine Kiel; Katherine Tedesco
  2. Singing the Gospel, Forging the Ties That Bind? Ethnographic Study of a Youth Gospel Choir By Allison Schnable

  1. By: Katherine Kiel (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross); Katherine Tedesco (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)
    Abstract: In 1982, the United States passed legislation that partially implemented the UNESCO Treaty, the Cultural Property Implementation Act. Despite the fact that the United States signed onto this treaty, it was common knowledge in the antiquities world that the enforcement of these laws has been lax, and the illegal sale of artifacts has continued. In December 2005, the Italian government took the Curator of Antiquities at the Getty Museum Marion True and Robert Hecht (a well-known antiquities dealer) to trial for conspiracy to buy and sell looted artifacts. This paper tests whether a good provenance increases the price of an antiquity and also whether the impact of appropriate provenance has changed since the trial began. To test these hypotheses, a hedonic regression on sales prices of provenanced and unprovenanced artifacts is estimated. We find that provenanced items are indeed selling for higher prices after 2005, ceteris paribus, which is evidence that the art market has responded to the law suits.
    Keywords: Hedonics, market for antiquities, provenance, difference-in-difference
    JEL: Z11 C29
    Date: 2011–06
  2. By: Allison Schnable (Princeton University)
    Abstract: How do religious practices forge meaningful social bonds? Building on the provocative claim (Putnam and Campbell 2010) about religious social ties leading to better citizenship, I analyze one of the most common American religious practices choral singing to explore how ties are formed. An ethnographic study of a youth gospel choir reveals that the collective emotional experience of making music, the shared understandings of religious narratives in songs‘ lyrics, the ritual of performance in church services, and repeated co-presence in the sacred space of the church building create strong bonds among church members. Gospel choir singing binds youth to the organization of the church and symbolically to the local and global black community.
    Keywords: choral singing, choirs, African American churches, Trenton, music, religion
    JEL: D19 D63 Z10 Z11
    Date: 2011–06

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