Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Deadweight loss during the holidays

Great video on the economics of giving by Marginal Revolutions's Tyler Cowan and Alex Taborrok.

Pop quiz: Suppose you have $20 in your budget for a gift to Aunt Mabel.  How do you make sure that Mabel gets at least $20 worth of enjoyment?  Easy answer: give her $20 in cash or Amazon gift card.

But do we really want to spend the holidays trading $20 bills with each other?  The video brings up other motives for gift giving, but I am not sure making charitable contributions in Mabel's name is the answer.  She might rather have the $20.

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