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Podcast: The Most Wasteful Time Of Year

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Podcast: The Most Wasteful Time Of Year

Podcast

Podcast: The Most Wasteful Time Of Year

All I want for Christmas is... Brylan/Flickr hide caption

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Brylan/Flickr

All I want for Christmas is...

Brylan/Flickr

Podcast: The Most Wasteful Time Of Year

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/114413852/127422116" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

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.

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