Neoliberal marketization of art worlds and status multiplexity: Price formation in a Korean art auction, 1998-2007

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This article examines the effects of neoliberal marketization of art worlds on the price formation of artworks in the auction market. Based on the distinction between market status and professional status of an artist, we argue that the two types of status not only differ in their effects on price formation but also interact with each other in determining the price of artwork. Analysis of an original dataset of all artworks traded at a major Korean fine art auction from 1998 to 2007 indicates that the price of an artwork sold at the auction is positively affected by the market status of its artist and negatively affected by the same artist's professional status. We also find that the negative effect of professional status on the price of artwork is greater for those artists with high market status than for those with low market status. Our results also show that the adoption of neoliberal art investment practices has increased the prices of artworks traded at the auction by reinforcing the institutional logic of marketization. Moreover, the adoption of neoliberal investment practices is found to further enhance the positive effect of market status on price. General implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-148
Number of pages29
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Apr

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government ( NRF-2010-32A-B00121 ). We are grateful to NRF Korea and also to Yonsei Business Research Institute for administrative support.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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