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Auriol, Emmanuelle

The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

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Volume 13, Issue 2


Volume 6 (2006)

Volume 4 (2004)

Volume 2 (2002)

Volume 1 (2001)

Age, Human Capital, and the Quality of Work: New Evidence from Old Masters

Thomas Bayer / John Page / Yaron Raviv
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  • Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, Claremont McKenna College, 500 E. Ninth St. Claremont, CA 91711, USA
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/ Joshua Rosett
Published Online: 2013-07-03 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bejeap-2012-0030


The links between individual ability, human capital investment, and quality of output are generally hard to examine because in most situations output results from multiple inputs and often through complex contracting processes. We overcome these problems by examining life-cycle artistic output quality as reflected in art auction prices. First, we observe an inverted U-shaped age-quality of work profile similar to the conventional age–wage profile. Second, we find that the degree of concavity increases for those with higher native ability. Third, we find that working for a patron rather than selling directly to the market is associated with a flatter age profile. Fourth, we find evidence that formal education increases the concavity of the age-quality of work profile. These results are consistent with the theory and demonstrate that artists respond to incentives to invest in human capital.

Keywords: art auctions; quality of work; age

JEL Classification: J24; N33; D44


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About the article

Published Online: 2013-07-03

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, Volume 13, Issue 2, Pages 687–708, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, ISSN (Print) 2194-6108, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bejeap-2012-0030.

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