Christmas for Curmudgeons? Why economists think gift-giving is wasteful

Ref: C2346148

Economists tend to see everything as a set of agreements and transactions which both parties think will make them better off. So Christmas gift-giving is no exception. If the gift is something you wanted, why hadn’t you already bought it yourself? So it follows that most gifts are unwanted, or worth less to the recipient than the amount the giver paid for them. It would be better to gift cash instead, and let the recipients choose what they want. But are we missing something? Are there other reasons for gift-giving, or should Christmas be cancelled?

Course aim

Why do we give gifts? Economists think that that gifts cost the giver more than they benefit the receiver, and so we'd be better off buying our own presents. But are there other reasons for gift-giving beyond a consideration of value?

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers
  • Experience of buying, giving and receiving Christmas presents (or other gifts) would be helpful!

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Explain why economists and curmudgeons question the value of gift-giving
  • Consider what the benefits of gift-giving might be
  • Sketch out ideas of what makes a good gift
  • Give an example of one change you might make to your own approach to Christmas gift-giving

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

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Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Christmas for Curmudgeons? Why economists think gift-giving is wasteful

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  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
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  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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