“The Market for ‘Lemons'” is a key article written by George Akerlof in , which aims to explain some of the market failures derived from. George Akerlof, along with Michael Spence and Joseph Stiglitz, received the In his classic article, “The Market for Lemons” Akerlof gave a new. The Market for “Lemons”: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism. Author( s): George A. Akerlof. Source: The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 84, No.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. These state laws provide remedies to consumers for automobiles that repeatedly fail to meet certain standards of quality and performance.

The Market for Lemons – Wikipedia

There are good used cars “peaches” and defective used cars “lemons”normally as a consequence of several not-always-traceable variables, such as the owner’s driving style, quality and frequency of maintenance, and accident history. Therefore, owners of good cars will not place their cars on the used car market.

Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism”. This is part of the basis for the idiom buyer beware. Views Read Edit View history.

However, a definition of ‘highest quality’ for food eludes providers. That is, if a customer in a fine establishment orders a lobster and the meat is not fresh, he can send the lobster back to the kitchen and refuse to pay for it. The withdrawal of good cars reduces the average quality of cars on the market, causing buyers to revise downward their expectations for any given car.

Libertarianslike William L. In American slang, a lemon is a car that is found to be defective only after it has been bought.

Rejected Classic Articles by Leading Economists”. Akerlof’s paper shows how prices can determine the quality of goods traded on the market.


Akerlof’s paper uses the market for used cars as an example of the markwt of quality uncertainty. Because many important mechanical parts and other elements are hidden from view and not easily accessible for inspection, the buyer of a car does not know beforehand whether it is a peach or a ,arket.

Journal of Consumer Policy. The Economics of Price Discrimination. The market for used cars collapses when there is asymmetric information. This page was last edited on 6 Juneat Quarterly Journal of Economics. If a car has to be repaired for the same defect four or more times and the problem is still occurring, the car may be deemed to be “a lemon”. However, not all players in a given market will follow the same rules or have the same aptitude of assessing quality.

In California and federal law, “Lemon Laws” cover anything mechanical. In akdrlof, Akerlof, along with Michael Spenceand Joseph Stiglitzjointly received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences mzrket, for their research on issues related to asymmetric information. Five years after Akerlof’s paper was published, the United States enacted a federal “lemon law” the Magnuson—Moss Warranty Act that protects citizens of all states.

The buyer, however, takes this incentive into consideration, and takes the quality of the goods to be uncertain. Both the American Economic Review and the Akerllof of Economic Studies rejected the paper for “triviality”, while the reviewers for Journal of Political Economy rejected it as incorrect, arguing that, if this paper were correct, then no goods could be traded.

But sellers know whether they hold a peach or a lemon. Journal of Economic Perspectives. This is likely the basis for the idiom that an informed consumer is a better consumer.


This means that the owner of a carefully maintained, never-abused, good used car will be unable to get a high enough price to make selling that car worthwhile. Low prices drive away sellers of high-quality lempn, leaving only lemons behind. Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism ” is a well-known akerlov paper by economist George Akerlof which examines how the quality of goods traded in a market can degrade in the presence of information asymmetry between buyers and sellers, leaving only “lemons” behind.

The Market for Lemons

There are also state laws regarding “lemons” which vary by state and may not necessarily cover used or leased vehicles. Market demand is given by:. An example of this might be akerlog subjective quality of fine food and wine.

The federal “lemon law” also provides that the warrantor may be obligated to pay the attorney fees of the party prevailng in a lemon law suit, as do most state lemon laws. This mechanism is repeated until a no-trade equilibrium is reached. Thus the uninformed buyer’s price creates an adverse selection problem that drives the high-quality cars from the market.

As a consequence of the markt described in this paper, markets may fail to exist altogether in certain situations involving quality uncertainty. So there will always be a distinct advantage for some vendors to offer low-quality goods to the less-informed segment of a market that, on the whole, appears to be of reasonable quality and have reasonable guarantees of certainty.