nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2019‒10‒21
two papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Art Dealers' Strategy The case of Goupil, Boussod & Valadon from 1860 to 1914 By David, Géraldine; Huemer, Christian; Oosterlinck, Kim
  2. Creativity over Time and Space By Serafinelli, Michel; Tabellini, Guido

  1. By: David, Géraldine; Huemer, Christian; Oosterlinck, Kim
    Abstract: Despite the existence of a large literature dedicated to the art market, the management of art galleries remains a black box as both buyers and sellers put a high value on discretion. This paper overcomes the traditional lack of quantitative data by analysing the complete books of one of the most successful French galleries at the end of the 19th century: Goupil, Boussod & Valadon. This original database covers the sale of more than 40,000 artworks that occurred between 1860 and 1914. Rapidity to sell artworks was a key element in Goupil's strategy. As a whole Goupil sold 71% of artworks bought. Out of the sold artworks, almost 80% were sold within a year (with 22% before the acquisition reflecting orders). Changes in ownership allow us to quantify changes in business strategy. The first owner required a lower mark-up for the artists in residence it was sponsoring and higher ones for nobles and art dealers. The second owner followed a similar strategy but also required a higher mark-up from former branches such as Knoedler.
    Keywords: Art Gallery; Art Investment; Art market; French Economic History
    JEL: N14 N44 Z11
    Date: 2019–08
  2. By: Serafinelli, Michel (University of California, Berkeley); Tabellini, Guido (Bocconi University)
    Abstract: Creativity is often highly concentrated in time and space, and across different domains. What explains the formation and decay of clusters of creativity? In this paper we match data on thousands of notable individuals born in Europe between the XIth and the XIXth century with historical data on city institutions and population. Our main variable of interest is the number of famous creatives (scaled to local population) born in a city during a century, but we also look at famous immigrants (based on location of death). We first document several stylized facts: famous births and immigrants are spatially concentrated and clustered across disciplines, creative clusters are persistent but less than population, and spatial mobility has remained stable over the centuries. Next, we show that the emergence of city institutions protecting economic and political freedoms and promoting local autonomy facilitates the attraction and production of creative talent.
    Keywords: innovation, agglomeration, political institutions, immigration, gravity
    JEL: R10 O10 J61 J24
    Date: 2019–09

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