Speculative bubbles under supply constraints, background risk and investment fraud in the art market

Alejandro Bernales, Lorenzo Reus, Víctor Valdenegro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We examine the unexplored effects on art markets of artist death (asset supply constraints), collectors' wealth (background risk) and forgery risk (risk of investment fraud), under short-sale constraints and risk aversion. Speculative bubbles emerge and have the form of an option strangle (a put option and a call option), in which strike prices are affected by art supply constraints and the association of the artworks' emotional value with both collectors' wealth and forgery, while the options' underlying asset is the stochastic heterogeneous beliefs of agents. We show that speculative bubbles increase with four elements: art supply constraints; a more negative correlation between collectors' wealth and the artworks' emotional value; a more positive relationship between forgery and the artworks' emotional value; and more heterogeneous beliefs. These four sources of speculation increase the expected turnover rate; however, they also augment the variance of speculative bubbles, which generates price discounts (i.e. risk premiums) for holding artworks. Consequently, the net impact of speculation is not necessarily increased art prices. This study not only contributes to the art market literature, but also to studies about speculative bubbles in other financial markets under heterogeneous beliefs, short-sale constraints and risk-averse investors, since we additionally consider the simultaneous effect of asset supply constraints, investors' background risk and the risk of investment fraud.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101746
JournalJournal of Corporate Finance
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Art Markets
  • Asset supply constraints
  • Background risk
  • Investment fraud
  • Speculative bubbles


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