Journal of Cultural Economics

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 359–383 | Cite as

Financial returns, price determinants, and genre effects in American art investment

  • Richard J. Agnello
  • Renée K. Pierce


Past studies on art investment, generally have found that returns are low and risk is high. In this study we find that the return to art investment is more in line with traditional investments and thus the cost for consumption associated with art seems fairly small. Employing a large sample of paintings by 66 American artists sold at auction between 1971–1992, average returns are found to be over 9 per cent and 3 per cent in nominal and real terms, respectively. The model employs a log linear price regression estimated by pooled cross section and time series data, and allows rates of return as well as hedonic values for various painting and auction attributes to be estimated. These include size, media, age of execution, authenticity of the work, and auction month and house. In addition, rates of return are differentiated by artist, time period of investment, price range and genre of the painting. The findings indicate significant sensitivity of rates of return to these data stratifications.

Key words

returns to art investment hedonic price regressions for paintings 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard J. Agnello
    • 1
  • Renée K. Pierce
    • 1
  1. 1.Economics DepartmentUniversity of DelawareNewarkU.S.A.

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