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Why traditional gift giving is creating economic waste

Economics professor Joel Waldfogel takes a look at the holiday gift-giving tradition from a value point of view. His studies have found that gifts given to people the giver does not know very well end up being of less value to therecipient than what the gift giver actually paid.

Waldfogel recommends gift cards as a potential solution. It gives the recipient more control over choosing a gift they will value. Yet gift cards are not without their own downside, as 10% of card balances will never be redeemed. Waldfogel offers some suggestions to prevent the billions of dollars worth of gift-card value that go unused annually.

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