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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

Auction hosts: are they really super partes ?

Published: May 25, 2021


Marie Blum, University of Strasbourg


This study provides the first examination of the impacts i) of marketing strategies implemented by auction houses and ii) of auctioneers’ way of conducting auctions, on auction sale outcomes: the probability of sale, the final purchase price and the final price in percentage of the presale mean estimated price. Using video recordings of art auction sales and a hand-collected database of 1101 auctioned artworks, we find firstly that the organisational and promotional work carried out by auction houses has an impact on different sale outcomes and secondly that the auctioneers’ behaviour seems to be decisive, especially the usage of humour. This research brings a more comprehensive understanding of bidders’ behavior, the tactics through which auction houses and auctioneers affect outcomes, and the functioning of real-world auction markets. Moreover, the findings of this study yield useful managerial insights for marketers.