Last week, I wrote a post about the economics of gift giving: “Gift Giving: The Economic Guide“. In there, you’ll find a summary of Joel Waldfogel’s academic paper: “The Deadweight Loss of Christmas“. The basic summary:

  1. Christmas gift-giving represents a massive loss of value for society;
  2. Firstly, most people receive gifts that are worth less to them than the gift-giver paid (ie. they would rather have taken the money and/or bought something else instead); and
  3. Secondly, we waste a lot of time in the search for gifts.

Personally, I think that’s a bit grinch-like. But here’s an infographic that sums some of that up:

Gift giving infographic

Either way, happy shopping to you this festive season.

Rolling Alpha posts opinions on finance, economics, and sometimes things that are only loosely related. Follow me on Twitter @RollingAlpha, or like the Rolling Alpha page on Facebook at