Executive Summary

In a now-famous 1970 paper, economist George Akerlof used the market for used cars to demonstrate the negative effects that can occur when there are significant information asymmetries between buyers and sellers of a good or service. He highlighted the market for used cars at the time, where, because consumers could not be sure of the quality of a used car they were offered, they were only willing to pay the price of a car in average condition, driving out sellers of high-quality used cars (“peaches”), who were not willing to accept the average price for their above-average product. At the same time, sellers of low-quality cars (“lemons”) were incentivized to enter the market, as they could receive a price greater than the actual value of their used car. This information asymmetry led to a negative cycle where more low-quality cars would enter the market, driving

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