The economic inefficiency of gift-giving

Raymond Chen

Economist Joel Waldfogel explains why gift-giving is bad for the economy, and why a charity gift card is the best luxury gift of all. He goes into more detail in his new book, Scroogenomics, which you can buy somebody for Christmas just to tell Waldfogel where he can stick it. (“In the bank!” he’ll say as he heads out with his royalty check.)

Related: Economist Tim Harford writes an advice column called Dear Economist for the Financial Times. But instead of applying economic theory to economic problems, he applies economic theory to personal problems.

As Harford himself explains, “Every advice columnist needs a persona, and for Dear Economist it was blunt, rude, and rather fond of the latest economic research.”


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