Richard Zeckhauser Photo

Richard Zeckhauser

Frank Plumpton Ramsey Professor of Political Economy
Office Address
79 John F. Kennedy St. Littauer Bldg 312
Nelson, Jonathan K., and Richard J. Zeckhauser. "Raphael, Superstar, and His Extraordinary Prices." Sources: Notes in the History of Art (Fall 2018): 15-23.


The patrons of Raphael, among the most powerful men in Europe, paid far more for his paintings than they did for those by most of his celebrated contemporaries. The present study aims to bring attention to this impressive, albeit rarely discussed, observation. A combination of approaches from different disciplines provides a methodological framework for analyzing extraordinary compensation for artists in a wide range of areas and time periods. Signaling, risk management, and the superstar model, all concepts from economic theory, together with distinction, a theory from sociology, help to explain this phenomenon and to understand its importance.