Drawing a line: The Impact of “Blind” Auctions on Female Artists

Are there gender biases in the demand for art? I examine this question by contrasting regular and blind art auctions. Using data from the Royal West Academy’s Secret Postcard Auction and secondary auction price data from Artprice, I show that blind auction prices are relatively higher for both male and female artists, but especially so for female artists. When the identity of the artist is truly uncertain, there is no gender discount. I provide evidence that buyer behaviour helps explain gender discounts when they arise. My analysis highlights the role of non-visual information in the valuation of visual art.