Got gift-giving on your mind? You're not the only one to agonize over it! Is exchanging presents a magical practice of reciprocity that leads to stronger human bonds (Team Anthropology!) or is it an inefficient scourge leading to deadweight loss (Team Economics!)? In this episode, we explore these two camps...and in the process get to Japan's extreme gifting culture (Maria’s our in-house expert!), best/worst presents (yay!/ack!), holiday shopping, and registries. Get ready folks, we unwrap gift giving like no one else does—like nerds!
Links to Stuff We Talk About
Bronisław Malinowski, “Argonauts of the Western Pacific: An account of native enterprise and adventure in the Archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea” (Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1922) http://wolnelektury.pl/katalog/lektura/argonauts-of-the-western-pacific/ [N&M note: Yes, this title is bad, like baaaad.]
Marcel Mauss, “The Gift: Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies” (Cohen & West Ltd, 1966). https://archive.org/details/giftformsfunctio00maus [N&M note: Yes, this one too.]
Joel Waldfogel, “Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays” (Princeton University Press, 2009). http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8972.html
“Why Economists Hate Gifts”. Planet Money. December 11, 2011. NPR.
Caitlin Kenney. “The Most Wasteful Time Of Year.” Planet Money. November 25, 2009. NPR.
Shankar Vedantam. "New Study Explores Psychology Of Giving Wedding Gifts." All Things Considered. June 24, 2016. NPR. http://www.npr.org/2016/06/24/483426485/new-study-explores-psychology-of-giving-wedding-gifts