The Great Debate UK

Understanding scroogenomics: why not to buy at Christmas

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Bah, humbug!

Ever since 19th-century British author Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol”, being frugal — especially during the Yuletide season — elicits comparisons with the miserly character of the book, Ebenezer Scrooge.

This year, a book by economist Joel Waldfogel challenges the negative connotations associated with Scrooge-like behaviour and explains why it is better not to buy Christmas gifts.

“From about age 10 on — when we first develop well-defined preferences — we endure receiving gifts that we do not like,” Waldfogel writes in “Scroogenomics“. “To make matters worse, we are obliged to pretend to be grateful.”

Walfogel, professor and chair of business and public policy at the University of Pennsylvania, shared his thoughts with Reuters on the economics of Christmas shopping before a talk at the RSA.

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