ESA National Economic Panel Polls
Bah Humbug Australia - December 2015
Proposition: "Giving specific presents as holiday gifts is inefficient, because recipients could satisfy their preferences much better with cash."
To close off 2015 on a lighter note - in keeping with the 'silly season' - we polled the National Economic Panel on a subject that comes up around this time every year: the economics of gift-giving.
The question was identical to one used in 2013 by Chicago Booth's IGM Forum of Economic Experts, so we can compare our results to theirs. It is very heartening to see that the spirit of the Grinch is much less prevalent among our Australian respondents! Our poll returned a very strong majority result - 73% disagreed or strongly disagreed with the Grinchy proposition, whereas in the 2013 IGM poll, 54% disagreed or strongly disagreed.
Here are some links for you to explore the economics of Christmas further:
- Joel Waldfogel, 'The Deadweight Loss of Christmas'. American Economic Review, December 1993, vol 83, no 5.
- 'Is Santa a deadweight loss? Are all those Christmas gifts just a waste of resources?' (The Economist, 20 Dec 2001)
- Joel Waldfogel, Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays (Princeton University Press, 2009)
- 'Bah Humbug' poll in the US (Chicago Booth's IGM Economic Experts Panel, 17 Dec 2013)
- Derek Thompson, 'If economists wrote Christmas cards' (The Atlantic, 18 Dec 2013)
- Josh Barro, 'An Economist Goes Christmas Shopping' (The New York Times, 19 Dec 2014)
- John Quiggin, 'The Economist as Grinch' (blog post, 7 Dec 2015)
On behalf of the ESA-Monash Forum, we would like to thank the panellists for their participation in our inaugural year of the National Economic Panel polls.
We will continue to improve this platform and return with more polls (on more weighty topics) in the New Year.
Very best wishes for the festive season.
Tom Chan, Buly Cardak, Matthew Butlin & Edward Buckingham