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The economy, explained, with stories and surprises. Imagine you could call up a friend and say, "Meet me at the bar and tell me what's going on with the economy." Now imagine that's actually a fun evening. That's what we're going for at <em>Planet Money</em>. People seem to like it.


#122 Planet Money: The Most Wasteful Time Of Year

November 25th, 2009

Episode 215 of 902 episodes

Economist Joel Waldfogel says giving gifts people don't want isn't just bad for the recipients, it's bad for the economy. According to his research, billions of dollars are wasted each year because of holiday shopping. A professor at Wharton, he has spent years surveying his students about how much items they received as gifts cost and how much they would pay for the same items. Based on those surveys, Waldfogel says the spending others do for us produces about 20 percent less satisfaction than the spending we do for ourselves. Despite the title of his book, Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents For The Holidays, Waldfogel says he doesn't want to end giving gift, in fact he enjoys it. He says he just wants us to think harder about who we are buying for and maybe choose a gift card over that reindeer sweater.

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