"Until about ten years ago, one of the most widely cited texts by an economist about the art market was a paper called “Unnatural Value: or Art Investment as a Floating Crap Game”, written in 1986 by William J. Baumol. Baumol analyzed “several centuries of price data” and came to the conclusion that the real rate of return on art investments was basically zero – hardly an encouragement for art collectors. In 2002, two New York University-based economists, Jiangping Mei and Michael Moses, claimed to prove him wrong and began publishing an analysis of art auction results that showed art outperforming many other investments. This was the beginning of the Mei Moses Art Index (as well as their art consulting business, Beautiful Asset Advisors, … ), which quickly began to appear on art investment websites and in publications like Forbes, playing a significant role in the development of the art investment industry."
Andrea Fraser, “L’1% C’est Moi” in Texte zur Kunst 83, September 2011. Source.