Archives for gifts



A Family of Gift-Maximizers

A reader/listener named T.K. writes from Salem, Or., having heard us talk about holiday gift-giving in our “Have a Very Homo Economicus Christmas” podcast:

Guys, thought you might be interested in a couple of econ-related oddities from my family at Christmas time. The first occurred this year. I am single and my brother and step-sister are both in relationships. My parents bought gifts for the boyfriend and girlfriend, and once I found out that they were planning to do that, I asked for my “share” of the boyfriend/girlfriend pool. I just wanted to be sure my take was the same as what my brother and his girlfriend, and step-sister and her boyfriend were getting. My parents obliged, so even though I am single, a few more Christmas gifts under the tree for me:) Don’t know how other families handle this issue, but it’s working beautifully in my family.

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Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Economists and Consultants

As long as they have at least a tiny bit of self-awareness, that is. Read More »



‘Tis the Season to Get What You Don’t Want

Picture this: Christmas morning, tchotchke-free. This week on the Freakonomics Radio Marketplace segment, Stephen Dubner proposes an idea that might finally put an end to holiday deadweight loss. Remember that patchouli-infused candle your loving aunt gave you last year? You wouldn’t dream of paying more than $1.99 for it, and she paid $30. That’s $28.01 […] Read More »



What Did You Get For Christmas Last Year? Introducing the Freakonomics Personal Gift Registry

Christmas is prime time to think about deadweight loss. Scroogenomics aside, tell the world what you really want this year using the Freakonomics Personal Gift Registry. Read More »



Puzzling Over the Invisible Economy

Last week I did something that felt very 1990′s: I purchased a compact disc. The CD wasn’t for me; it was a Christmas present.

As I wrapped the CD, I pondered the silliness of the whole enterprise. After all, the recipient — like most of us these days — listens almost exclusively to MP3 files. In fact, I’m not even sure if he has a CD player beyond his laptop, which he will use to convert his disc-shaped gift into a more useful set of MP3 files. Read More »



Our Daily Bleg: What Do You Get an Economist?

Freakonomics reader Presh Talwalkar, author of the Mind Your Decisions blog, wonders why there’s no holiday-gift guide for economists: I see many practical applications to such a list. It could help students give gifts to professors, businesses give gifts to hired economists, etc. Perhaps this list would reduce the “deadweight loss” of Christmas gifts. The […] Read More »



Last Call for Bookplates

I am happy to announce that after some two years of offering free signed bookplates, which turn a plain old copy of Freakonomics into an autographed copy of Freakonomics, we have finally squashed every bug in the system, and we have even caught up with demand. Which means that if you sign up for a […] Read More »



Freakonomics in the Times Magazine: Gift-Card Economy

In their Jan. 7, 2007, column for the New York Times Magazine, Dubner and Levitt ask the question we’ve all been asking: What do a gym membership, a bottle of prescription pills, and a holiday gift card have in common? This blog post supplies additional research material. Read More »