An Economist Goes Christmas Shopping

“The Deadweight Loss of Christmas” is the sort of academic paper that makes ordinary people think economists are kind of crazy. “I find that holiday gift giving destroys between one-third and one-tenth of the value of gifts,” proclaimed Joel Waldfogel, then an economics professor at Yale, in the 1993 paper. He estimated that ill-chosen gifts caused between $4 billion and $13 billion a year in economic waste; for comparison, he cited an estimate that put economic costs of the income tax at $50 billion. ….[READ]

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