An Empirical Analysis of Price Differences for Male and Female Artists in the Global Art Market

Fabian Y.R.P. Bocart, Marina Gertsberg, Rachel A.J. Pownall*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Web of Science)


We study prices paid at auction for artworks created by male and female artists, based on birth-identified sex, and how these prices have evolved over time. Artworks produced by female artists comprise less than 4% of art auction sales; after controlling for artwork characteristics, we find that artworks by female artists are 4.4% more expensive than artworks by male artists. In the top echelon of the art market—for sales above $1 million—artworks by male artists sell for 18.4% more than by female artists. The top 40 artists represent 40% of total market share; no female artist makes the top 40 ranking of artists in terms of total sales value at auction in the period under study, 2000–2017. However, for contemporary artists, our empirical results show that works by male artists sell for 8.3% more than their female counterparts. Overall, this study highlights significant price differences across birth-identified sex in the secondary market for fine art.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-565
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Cultural Economics
Issue number3
Early online date13 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

JEL classifications

  • j24 - "Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity"
  • j31 - "Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials"
  • z11 - Cultural Economics: Economics of the Arts and Literature
  • j71 - Labor Discrimination


  • art market
  • auctions
  • gender economics
  • labour economics
  • Art market
  • Gender economics
  • Labour economics
  • Auctions

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