Bryan Caplan asks whether statistical discrimination prevents good products from being adopted by retailers

[I]magine this hypothetical. Suppose you have a genuinely new and improved t.v. which would be profitable to manufacture if you had a serious order from Best Buy. What could you do to get Best Buy to start carrying it? How would you even get Best Buy’s buyer to take your calls? Could statistical discrimination (most people like you are too useless even to talk to) keep a good idea off the market for good?

The solution to this problem seems simple: retailers should charge a submission fee to review products for which there is little information. This would weed out people who are not confident in their own products and cover the cost of reviewing products that are not eventually accepted.

In the case of books (which Bryan mentions), a $300 submission fee would certainly cover the cost of having a competent person research whether the book should go in the store. This function could probably even be outsourced to a separate company. I am surprised that booksellers do not already do similar things. Am I missing something? Or do retailers already do this?

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