Trade

Making Christmas More Joyful, And More Efficient

Michael Diaz, Priscilla Clayton, Justin James, Shaheem Turner and Angelica Osorio show off the results of their trades.

Michael Diaz, Priscilla Clayton, Justin James, Shaheem Turner and Angelica Osorio show off the results of their trades. Caitlin Kenney/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Caitlin Kenney/NPR

Gift-giving makes economists crazy. It's so inefficient!

So we wondered: Is there a way to make the holiday season both more efficient and more joyful?

On today's Planet Money, we try to answer that question by conducting a wildly unscientific experiment. We go into a seventh-grade classroom and give a bunch of kids some small gifts — candy, raisins, fig newtons.

Then we ask them how much they value what they got, and if they can think of a way to make everyone better off, without buying any more gifts. They quickly arrive at a solution: trade.

Behold, the power of economics!

Subscribe to the podcast. Music: Lizzie West's "Family Christmas." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook.

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