Travail de recherche/Working paper
Résumé : We study the effect of public regulation of the art market. In 1981, France passed a Decree to regulate attribution practices, in a market where authenticity plays a key role in valuation and price formation mechanisms. By using empirical evidence from sales of early Flemish paintings (1955-2015), we show that the decree had a limited impact not only on due diligence and attribution practices but also on value of sales. The size and relative depth of the French art market compared to other countries, as well as the development of technical art history, the globalization of the art market, and compliance mechanisms explain the moderate impact of this Decree on old master sales. Our results therefore suggest that to regulate attribution in the arts, market mechanisms might be more effective than regulation.