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Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for Christmas


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Speaker(s): Professor Joel Waldfogel
Chair: Martin Lewis

Recorded on 3 December 2009 in Old Theatre, Old Building.

Christmas is a time of seasonal cheer, family get-togethers, holiday parties, and-gift giving. BUT - How many of us get gifts we like? How many of us give gifts not knowing what recipients want? Waldfogel illustrates how our consumer spending generates vast amounts of economic waste - over £50 billion each winter. He provides solid explanations to show us why it's time to stop the madness and think twice before we start on our Christmas shopping extravaganza. When we buy for ourselves, every pound we spend produces at least a pound in satisfaction, we shop carefully and purchase items that are worth more than they cost. Gift giving is different. We make less-informed choices, max out on credit to buy gifts worth less than the money spent, and leave recipients less than satisfied, creating what Waldfogel calls "deadweight loss." Whilst recognizing the difficulties of altering current trends, Waldfogel offers some alternative gift-giving suggestions.

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