Weekend list #10

The economics of wasteful spending: the deadweight loss of Christmas

In 1993 Joel Waldfogel coined the “deadweight loss of Christmas” theory in a short paper (pdf). His research has gone on to have a life of its own.

A behavioral scientist’s guide to gift-giving

Giving the right gift is difficult, in part because givers and receivers don’t necessarily agree on what “right” means. Choose the right strategy.

The theory of the leisure class

A classic. Thorstein Veblen argues that the conspicuous consumption of the leisure class is emulated by everyone, as individuals seek increased status.

Privately provided public goods in a large economy: the limits of altruism

Private charity is often considered a pure public good. James Andreoni suggests that this model fails to confirm the broadest empirical observations about it.

Bringing dynamism, homegrown innovation and human flourishing into economics (video)

Nobel Laureate Edmund Phelps argues that most innovation is not driven by a few isolated visionaries, but rather by many people empowered to dream up.


The Weekend List returns in 2017.