Podcast: The Most Wasteful Time Of Year

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A child stands outside a Christmas shop in Australia

All I want for Christmas is...




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On today's Planet Money:

Economist Joel Waldfogel says giving gifts people don't want isn't just bad for the recipients, it's bad for the economy. According to his research, billions of dollars are wasted each year because of holiday shopping. A professor at Wharton, he has spent years surveying his students about the value of gifts they have received. Based on those surveys, Waldfogel says the spending others do for us produces about 20 percent less satisfaction than the spending we do for ourselves.

Despite the title of his book, Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents For The Holidays, Waldfogel says he doesn't want to end gift giving, in fact he enjoys it. He says he just wants us to think harder about who we are buying for and maybe choose a gift card over that reindeer sweater.

Download the podcast; or subscribe. Music: Tom Petty's "Christmas All Over Again." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/ Flickr.



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