Podcast: Why Economists Hate Gifts

Why do Economists hate gifts so much? Gift giving isn’t efficient, but what is worse, most times it does not meet the overlying goal which is to create a more meaningful relationship.

The Indicator podcast explored this theme in their episode “The Efficient Christmas: Why Economists Hate Gifts” . And they discuss that what is clear about gifts is that people don’t like getting random unthoughtful gifts. It’s worse than getting no gift. But how do you know what to get? Enter the wish list: “… [A]cademic research gathered by Francesca Gino and Francis Flynn [shows that] people receiving the gifts loved getting gifts off their wishlist.”

During the interview Tim Harford accurately and pessimistically explains Christmas like so:

“The economy exists to serve us. …[I]f a big chunk of the economy is devoted to people running around in cramped conditions under a lot of stress, working really hard to buy each other stuff they don’t actually want [then] we’re better off without that part of the economy.”

A good podcast where they teach children (7th Grade) about measuring efficiency (economic happiness): http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/12/23/144195081/the-friday-podcast-why-economists-hate-gifts

Classic Quotes: The Common Denominator of Success

“The common denominator of success— the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful — lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.” – Albert E.N. Gray.

Mr Gray adds further detail in his 1940 major address at the National Association of Life Underwriters annual convention:


Click here for a related theme about getting out to meet new people in order to form great opportunities.

About the Author

An avid writer, Trevor Textor has been quoted by Reader’s Digest, NBC News, Reviews.com and MarketWatch.com among others. Trevor has done plenty of things he was told were not possible. Got a great idea? Ask Trevor if he can help: https://www.textor.ca/contactme/.

Article: IT Should Stop Trying to ‘Surprise and Delight’

As BAs / Architects, I think we see this a lot. Personally, it makes me sad, because I know there are many more efforts of higher value if only we didn’t focus on trying to “Surprise and Delight”.  Summary points: 1) Organizations Should Seek to Meet Customer Service Expectations, Not Exceed Them. 2) Low Customer Effort is the Key to Meeting Service Expectations.

They Know You

Planet Money Podcast “They Know You”

Behavioral economics & behavioral finance; these things have taught me more about people and the world than my psychology class ever did! As credit card companies analyze us to get their money back they learn interesting things about our behaviour. And they know that “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”