The economist’s guide to gift-giving “There are worlds of money wasted, at this time of year, in getting things that nobody wants, and nobody cares for after they are got.” That was Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1850, reminding us that … Continue reading Is giving gifts socially efficient?
A good gift should have these two characteristics Valentine’s Day is upon us, so I took the opportunity to call behavioral economist Dan Ariely to talk about relationships and dating. Ariely gave a Google Talk on the topic back in … Continue reading Are gifts about economic exchanges?
The Greatest Good Last winter, William MacAskill and his wife Amanda moved into a Union Square apartment that I was sharing with several friends in New York. At first, I knew nothing about Will except what I could glean from … Continue reading Reasons to give
The Empty Jar vs. the Glowing Screen Personally, I never tip the baristas when I go to a coffee shop. But plenty of people do. Enough that Starbucks has faced lawsuits over how it distributes the ample proceeds of its tip jars between managers and staff. Now, Starbucks is taking those tip jars digital. The coffee chain is debuting a new feature on its mobile payment app that will make it possible for patrons to leave tips with just the touch of a screen. Starbucks says its fans requested the option, as more and more of them are using smartphones … Continue reading Nudge for tipping
Women are better at picking out gifts than men Although it is commonly believed that women are better at picking out gifts than men, this has never been empirically tested. The studies presented in this paper address this oversight. The researchers had men and women select gifts that they would like best to receive from an artificial catalog containing items that both men and women tend to like equally (who doesn’t want champagne?). They then had their partner select gifts for them from the same catalog. As predicted by the stereotype, women were indeed better at guessing what their partner … Continue reading Women care about gifts
Conspicuous consumption: parent edition This post is not really related to taxes but more a recent observation of mine. I am mum to an 8th month old and observe a lot of things about parents I did not previously notice. This blog follows up on my twitter postings from Christmas Day.I am in the mighty megapolous of Toronto for Christmas. And I do mean Toronto and not the GTA, an important distinction for those that living in Toronto proper itself. I am visiting my in-laws for Christmas, who I like a great deal, and they live in a very affluent … Continue reading What drives preferences for a stroller
An economist’s guide to gift-giving In January 1993, Joel Waldfogel asked 86 undergraduate students whether they liked their Christmas gifts. But Waldfogel is an economist, so he phrased the question more precisely, asking them how much they would have paid to buy those items for themselves. The results were grim, at least for the gift-givers: The students estimated that their gifts had cost $438.20 — but they said the most they would have been willing to pay for them was $313.40. Two months later, Waldfogel rounded up 58 more students and asked them how much cash it would have taken … Continue reading Are gift-givers loss averse?