, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 649-668

Art as an investment: Short and long-term comovements in major painting markets

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Abstract

This paper examines the short and long-term price linkages among major art and equity markets over the period 1976–2001. The art markets examined are Contemporary Masters, French Impressionists, Modern European, 19th Century European, Old Masters, Surrealists, 20th Century English and Modern US paintings. A global equity index (with dividends and capitalisation changes) is also included. Multivariate cointegration procedures, Granger non-causality tests, level VAR and generalised variance decomposition analyses based on error-correction and vector autoregressive models are conducted to analyse short and long-run relationships among these markets. The results indicate that there is a stationary long-run relationship and significant short and long run causal linkages between the various painting markets and between the equity market and painting markets. However, in terms of the percentage of variance explained most painting markets are relatively isolated, and other painting markets are generally more important than the equity market in explaining the variance that is not caused by innovations in the market itself. This suggests that opportunities for portfolio diversification in art works alone and in conjunction with equity markets exist, though in common with the literature in this area the study finds that the returns on paintings are much lower and the risks much higher than in conventional financial markets.

The authors would like to thank delegates to the 14th Australasian Finance and Banking Conference, University of New South Wales, seminar participants at the Queensland University of Technology and Massey University, Masaki Katsuura, and two anonymous referees for helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper. The financial assistance of a Queensland University of Technology, Faculty of Business Research Initiative Grant is also gratefully acknowledged.