Journal of Cultural Economics

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 173–188 | Cite as

Cultural and economic value: a critical review

  • Francesco AngeliniEmail author
  • Massimiliano Castellani
Original Article


In this paper we present the state of the art concerning the distinction between economic and cultural value and the way the two values interact with each other. Our review espouses Klamer’s idea of creating a value-based approach in economics, systematizing the literature on the economic and cultural value of cultural goods. In order to analyze the relationship between the artist’s characteristics and the cultural goods’ values, we also propose a model of how fame and talent affect the economic and cultural value of cultural goods. In particular, the artist’s fame and talent and the cultural good’s price are included in the dynamic formation process of economic and cultural values.


Cultural good Cultural value Economic value Talent Fame 

JEL Classification



Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

This study was not funded, and the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Adler, M. (1985). Stardom and talent. American Economic Review, 75(1), 208–212.Google Scholar
  2. Adler, M. (2006). Stardom and talent. In V. A. Ginsburgh & D. Throsby (Eds.), Handbook of the economics of art and culture (Vol. 1, pp. 895–906). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  3. Agnello, R. J., & Pierce, R. K. (1996). Financial returns, price determinants, and genre effects in American art investment. Journal of Cultural Economics, 20(4), 359–383.Google Scholar
  4. Anderson, R. C. (1974). Paintings as an investment. Economic Inquiry, 12(1), 13–26.Google Scholar
  5. Angelini, F. (2017). Essays on the economics of the arts. Ph.D. thesis, IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca.Google Scholar
  6. Angelini, F., & Castellani, M. Private pricing in the art market. Economics Bulletin (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  7. Angelini, F., & Castellani, M. (2018). Price and quality in the art market: a bargaining pricing model with asymmetric information. Mimeo.Google Scholar
  8. Arora, P., & Vermeylen, F. (2013). The end of the art connoisseur? Experts and knowledge production in the visual arts in the digital age. Information, Communication and Society, 16(2), 194–214.Google Scholar
  9. Assaf, A. (2018). Testing for bubbles in the art markets: An empirical investigation. Economic Modelling, 68, 340–355.Google Scholar
  10. Ateca-Amestoy, V. (2007). Cultural capital and demand. Economics Bulletin, 26(1), 1–9.Google Scholar
  11. Baia Curioni, S., Forti, L., & Leone, L. (2015). Making visible. Artists and galleries in the global art system. In O. Velthuis & S. Baia Curioni (Eds.), Cosmopolitan canvases: The globalization of markets for contemporary art (pp. 55–77). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Baumol, W. J., & Throsby, D. (2012). Psychic payoffs, overpriced assets, and underpaid superstars. Kyklos, 65(3), 313–326.Google Scholar
  13. Beckert, J., & Rössel, J. (2004). Art and prices. Reputation as a mechanism for reducing uncertainty in the art market. Kolner Zeitschrift fur Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 56(1), 32–50.Google Scholar
  14. Beckert, J., & Rössel, J. (2013). The price of art. European Societies, 15(2), 178–195.Google Scholar
  15. Benhamou, F., Moureau, N., & Sagot-Duvauroux, D. (2002). Opening the black box of the white cube: A survey of French contemporary art galleries at the turn of the millenium. Poetics, 30(4), 263–280.Google Scholar
  16. Blaug, M. (2001). Where are we now on cultural economics? Journal of Economic Surveys, 15(2), 123–143.Google Scholar
  17. Bonus, H., & Ronte, D. (1997). Credibility and economic value in the arts. Journal of Cultural Economics, 21(2), 103–118.Google Scholar
  18. Borghans, L., & Groot, L. (1999). Superstardom and monopolistic power: Why media stars earn more than their marginal contribution to welfare. Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, 154(3), 546–571.Google Scholar
  19. Bryson, A., Rossi, G., & Simmons, R. (2014). The migrant wage premium in professional football: A superstar effect? Kyklos, 67(1), 12–28.Google Scholar
  20. Buelens, N., & Ginsburgh, V. A. (1993). Revisiting Baumol’s art as floating crap game. European Economic Review, 37(7), 1351–1371.Google Scholar
  21. Cameron, S. (1995). On the role of critics in the culture industry. Journal of Cultural Economics, 19(4), 321–331.Google Scholar
  22. Candela, G., & Castellani, M. (2000). L’economia e l’arte. Economia Politica, 17(3), 375–392.Google Scholar
  23. Candela, G., Castellani, M., Pattitoni, P., & Di Lascio, F. M. (2016). On Rosen’s and Adler’s hypotheses in the modern and contemporary visual art market. Empirical Economics, 451(1), 415–437.Google Scholar
  24. Candela, G., Figini, P., & Scorcu, A. E. (2004). Price indices for artists: A proposal. Journal of Cultural Economics, 28(4), 285–302.Google Scholar
  25. Candela, G., Lorusso, S., & Matteucci, C. (2009). Information, documentation and certification in Western and ethnic art. Conservation Science in Cultural Heritage, 9(1), 47–78.Google Scholar
  26. Candela, G., & Scorcu, A. E. (1997). A price index for art market auctions. Journal of Cultural Economics, 21(3), 175–196.Google Scholar
  27. Candela, G., & Scorcu, A. E. (2004). Economia delle Arti. Bologna: Zanichelli.Google Scholar
  28. Caves, R. E. (2003). Contracts between art and commerce. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 17(2), 73–84.Google Scholar
  29. Champarnaud, L. (2014). Prices for superstars can flatten out. Journal of Cultural Economics, 38(4), 369–384.Google Scholar
  30. Chanel, O. (1995). Is art market behaviour predictable? European Economic Review, 39(3–4), 519–527.Google Scholar
  31. Chossat, V., & Gergaud, O. (2003). Expert opinion and gastronomy: The recipe for success. Journal of Cultural Economics, 27(2), 127–141.Google Scholar
  32. Chung, K. H., & Cox, R. A. K. (1994). A stochastic model of superstardom: An application of the Yule distribution. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 76(4), 771–775.Google Scholar
  33. Cox, R. A. K., & Felton, J. M. (1995). The concentration of commercial success in popular music: An analysis of the distribution of Gold records. Journal of Cultural Economics, 19(4), 333–340.Google Scholar
  34. Crain, W. M., & Tollison, R. D. (2002). Consumer choice and the popular music industry: A test of the superstar theory. Empirica, 29(1), 1–9.Google Scholar
  35. De Marchi, N. (2008). Confluence of value: Three historical moments. In M. Hutter & D. Throsby (Eds.), Beyond Price (pp. 200–219). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Dekker, E. (2014). Two approaches to study the value of art and culture, and the emergence of a third. Journal of Cultural Economics, 39(4), 309–326.Google Scholar
  37. Del Saz-Salazar, S., Navarrete-Tudela, A., Alcalá-Mellado, J. R., & Del Saz-Salazar, D. C. (2017). On the use of life satisfaction data for valuing cultural goods: A first attempt and a comparison with the Contingent Valuation Method. Journal of Happiness Studies.
  38. Ehrmann, T., Meiseberg, B., & Ritz, C. (2009). Superstar effects in deluxe gastronomy – An empirical analysis of value creation in German quality restaurants. Kyklos, 62(4), 526–541.Google Scholar
  39. Filimon, N., López-Sintas, J., & Padrós-Reig, C. (2011). A test of Rosen’s and Adler’s theories of superstars. Journal of Cultural Economics, 35(2), 137–161.Google Scholar
  40. Flôres, R. G. J., Ginsburgh, V. A., & Jeanfils, P. (1999). Long- and short-term portfolio choices of paintings. Journal of Cultural Economics, 23(3), 191–208.Google Scholar
  41. Fox, M. A., & Kochanowski, P. (2004). Models of superstardom: An application of the Lotka and Yule distributions. Popular Music and Society, 27(4), 507–522.Google Scholar
  42. Franck, E., & Nüesch, S. (2008). Mechanisms of superstar formation in German soccer: Empirical evidence. European Sport Management Quarterly, 8(2), 145–164.Google Scholar
  43. Franck, E., & Nüesch, S. (2012). Talent and/or popularity: What does it take to be a superstar? Economic Inquiry, 50(1), 202–216.Google Scholar
  44. Frey, B. S., & Pommerenhe, W. W. (1989). Muses and markets: Explorations in the economics of the arts. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  45. Gergaud, O., & Ginsburgh, V. A. (2017). Measuring the economic effects of events using Google Trends. In V. M. Ateca-Amestoy, V. A. Ginsburgh, I. Mazza, J. O’Hagan, & J. Prieto-Rodriguez (Eds.), Enhancing participation in the arts in the EU. Challenges and methods (pp. 337–353). Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  46. Ginsburgh, V. A. (2003). Awards, success and aesthetic quality in the arts. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 17(2), 99–111.Google Scholar
  47. Ginsburgh, V. A., & Jeanfils, P. (1995). Long-term comovements in international markets for paintings. European Economic Review, 39(3–4), 538–548.Google Scholar
  48. Ginsburgh, V. A., & van Ours, J. C. (2003). Expert opinion and compensation: Evidence from a musical competition. American Economic Review, 93(1), 289–296.Google Scholar
  49. Ginsburgh, V. A., & Throsby, D. (Eds.). (2014). Handbook of the economics of art and culture (Vol. 2). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  50. Ginsburgh, V. A., & Weyers, S. (1999). On the perceived quality of movies. Journal of Cultural Economics, 23(1), 269–283.Google Scholar
  51. Ginsburgh, V. A., & Weyers, S. (2006). Persistence and fashion in art Italian Renaissance from Vasari to Berenson and beyond. Poetics, 34(1), 24–44.Google Scholar
  52. Ginsburgh, V. A., & Weyers, S. (2008). On the contemporaneousness of Roger de Piles’ Balance des Peintres. In J. Amariglio, J. W. Childers, & S. E. Cullenberg (Eds.), Sublime economy: On the intersection of art and economics (pp. 112–123). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  53. Ginsburgh, V. A., & Weyers, S. (2008b). Quantitative approach to valuation in the arts, with an application to movies. In M. Hutter & D. Throsby (Eds.), Beyond price (pp. 179–199). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Ginsburgh, V. A., & Weyers, S. (2010). On the formation of canons: The dynamics of narratives in art history. Empirical studies of the arts, 28(1), 37–72.Google Scholar
  55. Goetzmann, W. N. (1993). Accounting for taste: Art and financial market over three centuries. American Economic Review, 83(5), 1370–1376.Google Scholar
  56. Greenfeld, L. (1988). Professional ideologies and patterns of gatekeeping: Evaluation and judgment within two art worlds. Social Forces, 66(4), 903–925.Google Scholar
  57. Hamlen, W. A. J. (1991). Superstardom in popular music: Empirical evidence. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 73(4), 729–733.Google Scholar
  58. Hamlen, W. A. J. (1994). Variety and superstardom in popular music. Economic Inquiry, 32(3), 395–406.Google Scholar
  59. Hand, C. (2018). Do the arts make you happy? A quantile regression approach. Journal of Cultural Economics, 42(2), 271–286.Google Scholar
  60. Hellmanzik, C. (2009). Artistic styles: Revisiting the analysis of modern artists’ careers. Journal of Cultural Economics, 33(3), 201–232.Google Scholar
  61. Hernando, E., & Campo, S. (2017). An artist’s perceived value: Development of a measurement scale. International Journal of Arts Management, 19(3), 33–47.Google Scholar
  62. Humphreys, B. R., & Johnson, C. (2017). The effect of superstar players on game attendance: Evidence from the NBA. West Virginia University Working Paper no. 17–16.Google Scholar
  63. Hutter, M., & Frey, B. S. (2010). On the influence of cultural value on economic value. Revue d’économie politique, 120(1), 35–46.Google Scholar
  64. Hutter, M., Knebel, C., Pietzner, G., & Schäfer, M. (2007). Two games in town: A comparison of dealer and auction prices in contemporary visual arts markets. Journal of Cultural Economics, 31(4), 247–261.Google Scholar
  65. Hutter, M., & Shusterman, R. (2006). Value and the valuation of art in economic and aesthetic theory. In V. A. Ginsburgh & D. Throsby (Eds.), Handbook of the economics of art and culture (Vol. 1, pp. 169–208). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  66. Jansen, C. (2005). The performance of german motion pictures, profits and subsidies: Some empirical evidence. Journal of Cultural Economics, 29(3), 191–212.Google Scholar
  67. Kawashima, N. (1999). Distribution of the arts: British arts centres as gatekeepers’ in intersecting cultural production systems. Poetics, 26(4), 263–283.Google Scholar
  68. Klamer, A. (Ed.). (1996). The value of culture. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.Google Scholar
  69. Klamer, A. (2004). Cultural goods are good for more than their economic value. In V. Rao & M. Walton (Eds.), Culture and public action (pp. 138–162). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  70. Klamer, A. (2008). The lives of cultural goods. In J. Amariglio, J. W. Childers, & S. E. Cullenberg (Eds.), Sublime economy: On the intersection of art and economics (pp. 250–272). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  71. Klamer, A. (2016a). Doing the right thing: A value based economy. London: Ubiquity Press.Google Scholar
  72. Klamer, A. (2016b). The value-based approach to cultural economics. Journal of Cultural Economics, 40(4), 365–373.Google Scholar
  73. Kräussl, R., Lehnert, T., & Martelin, N. (2016). Is there a bubble in the art market? Journal of Empirical Finance, 35, 99–109.Google Scholar
  74. Krueger, A. B. (2005). The economics of real superstars: The market for rock concerts in the material world. Journal of Labor Economics, 23(1), 1–30.Google Scholar
  75. Lang, G. E., & Lang, K. (1988). Recognition and renown: The survival of artistic reputation. American Journal of Sociology, 94(1), 79–109.Google Scholar
  76. Lehmann, E. E., & Schulze, G. G. (2008). What does it take to be a star? The role of performance and the media for German soccer players. Applied Economics Quarterly, 54(1), 59–70.Google Scholar
  77. Lévy-Garboua, L., & Montmarquette, C. (1996). A microeconometric study of theatre demand. Journal of Cultural Economics, 20(1), 25–50.Google Scholar
  78. Lucifora, C., & Simmons, R. (2003). Superstar effects in sport: Evidence from Italian soccer. Journal Of Sports Economics, 4(1), 35–55.Google Scholar
  79. MacDonald, G. M. (1988). The economics of rising stars. American Economic Review, 78(1), 155–166.Google Scholar
  80. McCain, R. A. (2006). Defining cultural and artistic goods. In V. A. Ginsburgh & D. Throsby (Eds.), Handbook of the economics of art and culture (Vol. 1, pp. 147–167). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  81. Menger, P. M. (2014). The economics of creativity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  82. Menger, P. M. (2018). Le talent et la physique sociale des inégalités. In P. M. Menger (Ed.), Le talent en débat. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  83. Muñiz Jr., A. M, Norris, T., & Fine, G. A. (2014). Marketing artistic careers: Pablo Picasso as brand manager. European Journal of Marketing, 48(1/2), 68–88.Google Scholar
  84. Oosterlinck, K., & Radermecker, A. S. (2018). “The Master of...”: Creating names for art history and the art market. Journal of Cultural Economics.
  85. Pesando, J. E., & Shum, P. M. (1999). The returns to Picasso’s prints and to traditional financial assets, 1977 to 1996. Journal of Cultural Economics, 23(3), 183–192.Google Scholar
  86. Peterson, K. (1997). The distribution and dynamics of uncertainty in art galleries: A case study of new dealerships in the Parisian art market, 1985–1990. Poetics, 25(4), 241–263.Google Scholar
  87. Pokorny, M., & Sedgwick, J. (2001). Stardom and the profitability of film making: Warner Bros. in the 1930s. Journal of Cultural Economics, 25(3), 157–184Google Scholar
  88. Preece, C., & Kerrigan, F. (2015). Multi-stakeholder brand narratives: An analysis of the construction of artistic brands. Journal of Marketing Management, 31(11–12), 1207–1230.Google Scholar
  89. Quemin, A., & van Hest, F. (2015). The impact of nationality and territory on fame and success in the visual arts sector: Artists, experts, and the market. In O. Velthuis & S. Baia Curioni (Eds.), Cosmopolitan canvases: The globalization of markets for contemporary art (pp. 170–192). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  90. Radermecker, A. S., Ginsburgh, V., & Tommasi, D. (2017). The implicit value of arts experts: The case of Klaus Ertz and Pieter Brueghel the Younger. Working Papers ECARES 2017-17, ULB - Universite Libre de Bruxelles.Google Scholar
  91. Reinstein, D. A., & Snyder, C. M. (2005). The influence of expert reviews on consumer demand for experience goods: A case study of movie critics. The Journal of Industrial Economics, 53(1), 27–51.Google Scholar
  92. Reitlinger, G. (1963). The economics of taste: The rise and fall of the picture market, 1760–1963. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  93. Reitlinger, G. (1970). The economics of taste: The art market in the 1960s. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  94. Rengers, M., & Velthuis, O. (2002). Determinants of prices for contemporary art in Dutch galleries, 1992–1998. Journal of Cultural Economics, 26(1), 1–28.Google Scholar
  95. Rosen, S. (1981). The economics of superstars. American Economic Review, 71(5), 845–858.Google Scholar
  96. Schönfeld, S., & Reinstaller, A. (2007). The effects of gallery and artist reputation on prices in the primary market for art: A note. Journal of Cultural Economics, 31(2), 143–153.Google Scholar
  97. Schroeder, J. E. (2005). The artist and the brand. European Journal of Marketing, 39(11/12), 1291–1305.Google Scholar
  98. Scorcu, A. E., & Zanola, R. (2011). The “right” price for art collectibles: A quantile hedonic regression investigation of Picasso paintings. Journal of Alternative Investments, 14(2), 89–99.Google Scholar
  99. Seaman, B. A. (2006). Empirical studies of demand for the performing arts. In V. A. Ginsburgh & D. Throsby (Eds.), Handbook of the economics of art and culture (Vol. 1, pp. 415–472). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  100. Smith, T. (2008). Creating value between cultures: Contemporary Australian aboriginal art. In M. Hutter & D. Throsby (Eds.), Beyond price (pp. 23–40). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  101. Snowball, J. D. (2008). Measuring the value of culture. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  102. Snowball, J. D. (2011). Cultural value. In R. Towse (Ed.), A handbook of cultural economics (pp. 172–176). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  103. Stein, J. P. (1977). The monetary appreciation of paintings. Journal of Political Economy, 85(5), 1021–1036.Google Scholar
  104. Teichgraeber III, R. F. (2008). More than Luther of these modern days: The construction of Emerson’s reputation in American culture, 1882–1903. In M. Hutter & D. Throsby (Eds.), Beyond price (pp. 159–175). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  105. Throsby, D. (1990). Perception of quality in demand for the theatre. Journal of Cultural Economics, 14(1), 65–82.Google Scholar
  106. Throsby, D. (2001). Economics and culture. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  107. Throsby, D. (2003). Determining the value of cultural goods: How much (or how little) does contingent valuation tell us? Journal of Cultural Economics, 27(3–4), 275–285.Google Scholar
  108. Throsby, D., & Zednik, A. (2014). The economic and cultural value of paintings: Some empirical evidence. In V. A. Ginsburgh & D. Throsby (Eds.), Handbook of the economics of art and culture (Vol. 2, pp. 81–99). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  109. Tobias, S. (2004). Quality in the performing arts: Aggregating and rationalizing expert opinion. Journal of Cultural Economics, 28(2), 109–124.Google Scholar
  110. Towse, R. (2006). Human capital and artists’ labour market. In V. A. Ginsburgh & D. Throsby (Eds.), Handbook of the economics of art and culture (Vol. 1, pp. 865–894). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  111. Ursprung, H. W., & Wiermann, C. (2011). Reputation, price, and death: An empirical analysis of art price formation. Economic Inquiry, 49(3), 697–715.Google Scholar
  112. Van den Braembussche, A. (1996). The value of art: A philosophical perspective. In A. Klamer (Ed.), The value of culture (pp. 31–43). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.Google Scholar
  113. Vecco, M., & Zanola, R. (2017). Don’t let the easy be the enemy of the good. Returns from art investments: What is wrong with it? Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 140, 120–129.Google Scholar
  114. Velthuis, O. (2002). Promoters and parasites. An alternative explanation of price dispersion in the art market. In G. Mossetto & M. Vecco (Eds.), Economics of art auctions (pp. 130–150). Milano: FrancoAngeli.Google Scholar
  115. Velthuis, O. (2003). Symbolic meanings of prices: Constructing the value of contemporary art in Amsterdam and New York galleries. Theory and Society, 32(2), 181–215.Google Scholar
  116. Velthuis, O. (2007). Talking prices: Symbolic meanings of prices on the market for contemporary art. Princeton, MA: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  117. Velthuis, O. (2011). Damien’s dangerous idea: Valuing contemporary art at auction. In J. Beckert & P. Aspers (Eds.), The worth of goods: Valuation and pricing in the economy (pp. 178–200). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  118. Velthuis, O. (2012). The contemporary art market between stasis and flux. In M. Lind & O. Velthuis (Eds.), Contemporary art and its commercial markets (pp. 17–50). Berlin: Sternberg Press.Google Scholar
  119. Vermeylen, F., van Dijck, M., & De Laet, V. (2013). The test of time: Art encyclopedia and the formation of the canon of seventeenth-century painters in the Low Countries. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 31(1), 81–105Google Scholar
  120. Wheatley, D., & Bickerton, C. (2017). Subjective well-being and engagement in arts, culture and sport. Journal of Cultural Economics, 41(1), 23–45.Google Scholar
  121. Wijnberg, N. M., & Gemser, G. (2000). Adding value to innovation: Impressionism and the transformation of the selection system in visual arts. Organization Science, 11(3), 323–329.Google Scholar
  122. Wolff, J. (1981). The social production of art. London: MacMillan Press.Google Scholar
  123. Zakaras, L., & Lowell, J. F. (2008). Cultivating demand for the arts. Arts learning, arts engagement, and state arts policy. Santa Monica: RAND Corporation.Google Scholar
  124. Zorloni, A. (2005). Structure of the contemporary art market and the profile of Italian artists. International Journal of Arts Management, 8(1), 61–71.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of StatisticsUniversity of BolognaRiminiItaly
  2. 2.The Rimini Centre for Economic AnalysisWaterlooCanada

Personalised recommendations