In the Loop

An economic argument against gift giving

Posted at 12:46 PM on December 17, 2009 by Sanden Totten (2 Comments)

Joel Waldfogel must like ruffling feathers . . . either that or he just has a burning passion for getting to the bottom of things. Either way, his new book Scroogenomics is bound to stir up some debate. In it, he takes a sacred Christmas tradition and tears it to shreds.

Waldfogel_Scroogenomics_cover.jpg

His basic premise is that gift giving is bad. Bad for the giver, bad for the receiver. At least that's what he found after analyzing how much we spend on gifts compared to how satisfied we are with the gifts we get. In The Loop decided to bring Waldfogel on the show to learn more about why gift giving is so lousy . . . economically speaking.

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Comments (2)

A few years ago I started giving gifts to charities in honor of those relatives who have everything. I wrap up a card for each person showing what "they" donated to. (Some like it and some don't.) Charity gift cards sound even better--you let the recipient choose which charity to donate to. Where can I find out about these charity gift cards?

Posted by Suzanne Lucas | December 17, 2009 4:00 PM


The joy I feel when I give a worthy gift to someone cannot be priced. I refuse to think that there is a downside in it for me. Gifts I give out are more for my happiness than for the recipient's and I will contend the same for a bunch of people even though they refuse to say so. Look at Oprah for example: using money to build one school in a part of the world that can use that money to run education departments in some whole nations. She knows the money can be better spent within the same region but a girl's school makes her happier: not the kids.

Posted by JP | December 18, 2009 8:54 AM


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