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Art Critic Index: A Proxy for Cultural Value in the Context of the South Africa Art Market

12 February 2015
Publication Type: Working Paper
Economic Theme: Public Finance
JEL Code: D46, Z11

This study creates a proxy for cultural value by constructing an Art Critic Index (ACI). Cultural value is a distinct and alternative concept of value that is used to understand the art market. The ACI is formed by analysing survey books on South African art. Using a hedonic regression model a positive relationship is found between the ACI and art prices. Further, certain outliers in the ACI against price relation are in line with the understanding of the relationship between cultural and economic value. The paper concludes that the ACI is a suitable proxy for cultural value but it is not without significant criticisms. The lack of variability in the index between artists and between artworks by the same artist is the major area of concern.

Series title: Working paper 500
1 February 2015
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