A brief review of an interesting study on the prepublication record of a large sampling of articles in biology at Nature News: http://www.nature.com/news/rejection-improves-eventual-impact-of-manuscripts-1.11583?WT.ec_id=NEWS-20121016
Some interesting evidence here suggesting that papers don't necessarily move logically from higher tier to lower tier journals if they're initially rejected, and that being rejected initially leads to a better citation record in the long run. These data leave much to be desired in terms of explanation, but it's a start.
Publication records and citation aren't an area of focus for me, but I have to wonder whether anyone has performed similar studies in any of the humanities. If this kind of information is available, it might be a useful thing for graduate students to know as they begin to publish, wouldn't you think?