Age and the Quality of Work: The Case of Modern American Painters
NBER Working Paper No. 7122
Psychologists have found that the age at which successful practitioners typically do their best work varies across professions, but they have not considered whether these peak ages change over time, as economic models suggest they might. Using auction records, we estimate the relationship between artists' ages and the value of their paintings for two successive cohorts of modern American painters. We find that a substantial decline occurred over time in the age at which these artists produced their most valuable - and most important - work, and argue that this was caused by a shift in the nature of the demand for modern art during the 1950s.
Published: Galenson, David W. and Bruce A. Weinberg. "Age And The Quality Of Work: The Case Of Modern American Painters," Journal of Political Economy, 2000, v108(4,Aug), 761-777.