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EconomistsTalkArt.org

Research-based policy analysis and commentary

A HISTORY OF THE ART MARKET IN 35 RECORD-BREAKING SALES

Christophe Spaenjers, William N. Goetzmann and Elena Mamonova

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When Pablo Picasso’s “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O)” sold at Christie’s in New York for $179 million dollars in May 2015, it was only the 36th time in the past 315 years that a world auction record had been set, and the sale raised questions well beyond the art world. How could a single painting be worth so much? Why is art so important to wealthy households? What economic and social factors could lead to enshrining Picasso’s colourful near-abstract portrait as the most valuable picture in the history of the modern world?

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MUSIC AND THE MUSIC INDUSTRY: A SAD-ONOMICS APPROACH

Samuel Cameron

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The economic analysis of music is at a crossroad. Digital innovations undermine the concepts of production deeply embedded in economics textbooks. Do we need a new production function? Can this be the SAD (serendipity, authenticity and drugs) production function extended to allow for the creation of value in the consumers’ subjective perceptions?

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WHY ARE THERE SO MANY ART THEFTS, AND WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT THEM?

Frederick Chen and Rebecca Regan

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More than 50,000 pieces of artwork are stolen each year globally, and many cases of art crimes are facilitated by lax security at museums. How can economic theory account for these observations, and what kind of policies would help reduce the incidence of art thefts?

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THE KNOWLEDGE CLUB: NEW BUSINESS MODEL

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(Jason Potts, John Hartley, Lucy Montgomery, Cameron Neylon and Ellie Rennie)

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Maybe we’ve been thinking about science all wrong. In the old model, knowledge was privately produced, then ‘communicated’ to make it a public good. Journals did the communicating. But a better model is to think of this whole process as a club of both producers and consumers together.

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THE ARTS ALONE OR TOGETHER? TIME USE AS A MEASUREMENT OF THE VALUE OF THE ARTS

Elisabetta Lazzaro and Carlofilippo Frateschi

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How can we measure the value of arts activities and practices taking into account individuals’ interactions? Is there a difference between participating in the arts when people are together or alone? We provide an alternative measurement of the economic value of the arts based on time use applied to couples’ participation offering useful insights to arts programmers, cultural policy makers and the society as a whole.

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WHAT IS COPYRIGHT GOOD FOR?

Ruth Towse

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What are the relative roles of copyright law and market forces, especially when they are altered by disruptive technologies? The paper takes an historical approach to the development of music publishing viewed through the lens of present day issues, in particular the impact of digitisation in the creative industries.

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