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Happy Holidays from Econlib!


'Tis the season... for deadweight loss? In a now-famous article by economist Joel Waldfogel, he described the "deadweight loss of Christmas" as the gap between how much a gift giver spends on a present and how much the recipient values the gift. (Read more about it here.) Gift-giving this time of year can be fraught with feelings- some good, some bad. So what would an economist say about how to approach your gift-giving dilemmas? What about the multitude of charitable requests that seem to fill your in- and mail-boxes this time of year? Can economics help you make philanthropic decisions as well?

Maybe you're more focused on finding peace and presence this season. We hear you. We've tried to find something for each of these concerns this month; we hope you enjoy our selections.

Please accept our wishes for a wonderful holiday season. Stay tuned on EconLog for a series of reading suggestions from our contributors, and we'll see you next year!

P.S. If you want to learn more about the concept of deadweight loss generally, may we suggest this 2017 Econlib Article by Cyril Morong?

Podcast: Munger on Love, Money, Profits, and Non-Profits
What motivates people, self-interest or altruism? Both obviously. But how do these forces interact with each other? Does relying on one always provide a stronger incentive than the other? Do charities, for-profit businesses or government agencies do a better job providing a good or service?

How Economics Saved Christmas
Remember how much the Grinch hated the Whos' singing? "He had to stop Christmas from coming, somehow. He asked and he questioned the whole thing’s legality. Then his eyes brightened: he screamed “externality!

Video: An Economist's Christmas
Will Marginal Revolution University professors Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok ruin Christmas- or make it better? Create value with friends and family this holiday season!
Earning to Live or Earning to Give?
What are you doing to make the world a better place? Use this EconTalk Extra to help you think through the most effective way YOU can be altruistic.
The Two Moralities of Ebeneezer Scrooge
A classic Article from 2013 by Dwight Lee. “Market behavior really is motivated largely by the same desire that transformed Scrooge on Christmas morning.”
Count Your Blessings, Not Your Sheep
Could you thank ALL the people who contribute to your morning cuppa? Author A.J. Jacobs tried, and his experience has a lot to teach us about gratitude and how we might express it. How do you express gratitude? Do you document it, as in a gratitude journal, or recounting what you’re grateful for from A to Z before you go to sleep? Use these prompts to start your own gratitude journey.
Podcast: Palotta on Charity and the Culture of the Non-Profit Sector
If you are involved in a charity out there listening, or if you give to a charity, which I hope is almost all of you, you should read this book or watch Dan's TED talk or listen to the rest of this podcast. There's a lot to think about. ~Russ Roberts
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