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Overconfidence in the Markets for Lemons

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  • Herweg, Fabian
  • Müller, Daniel

Abstract

We extend Akerlof (1970)’s “Market for Lemons†by assuming that some buyers are overconfident. Buyers in our model receive a noisy signal about the quality of the good that is on display for sale. Overconfident buyers do not update according to Bayes’ rule but take the noisy signal at face value. We show that the presence of overconfident buyers can stabilize the market outcome by preventing total adverse selection. This stabilization, however, comes at a cost: rational buyers are crowded out of the market.

Suggested Citation

  • Herweg, Fabian & Müller, Daniel, 2013. "Overconfidence in the Markets for Lemons," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 452, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:452
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fang, Hanming & Moscarini, Giuseppe, 2005. "Morale hazard," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 749-777, May.
    2. Bond, Eric W, 1982. "A Direct Test of the "Lemons" Model: The Market for Used Pickup Trucks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 836-840, September.
    3. Ellingsen, Tore, 1997. "Price signals quality: The case of perfectly inelastic demand," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 43-61, November.
    4. de la Rosa, Leonidas Enrique, 2011. "Overconfidence and moral hazard," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 429-451.
    5. Gregory Lewis, 2011. "Asymmetric Information, Adverse Selection and Online Disclosure: The Case of eBay Motors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1535-1546, June.
    6. Florian Englmaier, 2010. "Managerial optimism and investment choice," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(4), pages 303-310.
    7. Michael D. Grubb, 2009. "Selling to Overconfident Consumers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1770-1807, December.
    8. Levin, Jonathan, 2001. "Information and the Market for Lemons," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(4), pages 657-666, Winter.
    9. 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.
    10. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
    11. Adriani, Fabrizio & Deidda, Luca G., 2009. "Price signaling and the strategic benefits of price rigidities," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 335-350, November.
    12. Charles Wilson, 1980. "The Nature of Equilibrium in Markets with Adverse Selection," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(1), pages 108-130, Spring.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Adverse Selection; Market for Lemons; Overconfidence;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality

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