Making Christmas More Joyful, And More Efficient : Planet Money Gift-giving makes economists crazy. It's so inefficient!
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Making Christmas More Joyful, And More Efficient

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Making Christmas More Joyful, And More Efficient

Making Christmas More Joyful, And More Efficient

Making Christmas More Joyful, And More Efficient

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/132203873/132246104" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

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

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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.