From “Lemons” to Lemonade: Lessening the Impact of Adverse Selection through Buyer Trust


Correspondence regarding this article should be sent to: Gordon T. Gray, Department of Marketing, College of Business, University of Central Oklahoma, 100 North University, Edmond, OK 73034 (


This research extends overlapping streams of research examining asymmetric information, adverse selection, and buyer trust by presenting an empirical investigation of the process by which a market for “lemons” emerges in the claiming market for thoroughbred racehorses. The study focuses attention on the potential of quality signals and buyer trust to lessen the impact of adverse selection. Incorporating concepts from economics, marketing, and psychology, a conceptual model suggests that adversely selected racehorses, distinguished by an unintentional signal from sellers to potential buyers, will be priced lower than otherwise similar racehorses perceived to be less subject to adverse selection. Data from one day of claiming races at 16 American racetracks (744 racehorses) are used to test this study hypothesis. Results provide evidence for adverse selection and a mitigating quality signal in the thoroughbred claiming market. Implications for buyers and sellers in this market, as well as more general implications, are discussed and an avenue for future research is proposed.