The Problem of Unobservable Quality

James Akerlof's seminal contribution to the economics of information, "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality, Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," considered whether markets would exist if product quality were unobservable. Before the Quarterly Journal of Economics finally accepted Akerlof's paper four years after he first sought to publish it, three journals called it a lemon. "I first submitted it in June, 1967 to the American Economic Review. I got a reply from the editor which said that the article was interesting but the American Economic Review did not publish such trivial stuff."

Joshua S. Gans and George B. Shepherd, "How are the mighty fallen: Rejected Classic Articles by Leading Economists", Journal of Economic Perspectives 8: 165-179

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