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Are lemons really hot potatoes?


  • Engers, Maxim
  • Hartmann, Monica
  • Stern, Steven


We model the hazard rate for car ownership spells. Our model allows us to distinguish among different types of adverse selection effects by observing the type of unobserved heterogeneity across owners of the same car. Our empirical results strongly suggest that there is a lemons effect because there is significant unobserved heterogeneity. However, they also suggest that the lemons effect is caused by the first owner rather than the manufacturer. Had the manufacturer created the lemon, the unobserved heterogeneity would be positively correlated over all owners of a given car. Instead we observe a negative correlation between the unobserved heterogeneity term for the first owner and the unobserved heterogeneity term for subsequent owners.

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  • Engers, Maxim & Hartmann, Monica & Stern, Steven, 2009. "Are lemons really hot potatoes?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 250-263, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:27:y:2009:i:2:p:250-263

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    9. Igal Hendel & Alessandro Lizzeri & Marciano Siniscalchi, 2005. "Efficient Sorting in a Dynamic Adverse-Selection Model," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(2), pages 467-497.
    10. Alessandro Lizzeri & Igal Hendel, 1999. "Adverse Selection in Durable Goods Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1097-1115, December.
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    12. Genesove, David, 1993. "Adverse Selection in the Wholesale Used Car Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 644-665, August.
    13. Thomas W. Gilligan, 2004. "Lemons and Leases in the Used Business Aircraft Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 1157-1186, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher Adams & Laura Hosken & Peter Newberry, 2011. "Vettes and lemons on eBay," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 109-127, June.
    2. K. W. Chau & Lennon H. T. Choy, 2011. "Let the Buyer or Seller Beware: Measuring Lemons in the Housing Market under Different Doctrines of Law Governing Transactions and Information," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(S4), pages 347-365.
    3. Bryan Bollinger, 2015. "Green technology adoption: An empirical study of the Southern California garment cleaning industry," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 319-358, December.
    4. Jonathan R. Peterson & Henry S. Schneider, 2014. "Adverse selection in the used-car market: evidence from purchase and repair patterns in the Consumer Expenditure Survey," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 45(1), pages 140-154, March.
    5. Anthony Strittmatter & Michael Lechner, 2017. "Sorting on the Used-Car Market After the Volkswagen Emission Scandal," CESifo Working Paper Series 6480, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Maxim Engers & Monica Hartmann & Steven Stern, 2009. "Annual miles drive used car prices," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(1), pages 1-33.
    7. Justin P. Johnson & Henry S. Schneider & Michael Waldman, 2014. "The Role and Growth of New-Car Leasing: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(3), pages 665-698.


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