ART as meta-credence: authentication and the role of experts

  • Robert B. EkelundJr.Email author
  • Richard Higgins
  • John D. Jackson
Original Article


Authenticity is a perennial issue in art markets. This paper investigates the character of some art identifying it as meta-credence goods and utilizing a formal Bayesian model of how experts (or buyers) play a role in evaluating art works, as suggested in a recent paper by Ginsburgh et al. (J Econ Behav Organ 159:36–50, 2019). Experts or a consensus of experts determines credence status where present and future falsification (in the sense of Karl Popper) is impossible. Credence is always a matter of probabilistic degree, and we define a class of extreme credence goods called meta-credence. Consensus of expert opinion serves as verification in the art world where consensus substitutes for falsification. These opinions are relied on by buyers and the art-loving public. This paper outlines the process that the art expert undergoes to render a verdict on the authenticity of art.


Credence goods Art experts Meta-credence Art authentication 

JEL Classification




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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert B. EkelundJr.
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard Higgins
    • 2
  • John D. Jackson
    • 1
  1. 1.Auburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  2. 2.Berkeley Research GroupEmeryvilleUSA

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