Confounding Issues In The Deadweight Loss Of Giftgiving


  • H. Kristl Davison
  • Mark N Bing
  • E. Bruce Hutchinson
  • Leila J Pratt


When a gift is given, someone other than the final consumer makes the consumption choice.  Thus there is a possibility that the gift will not match the preferences of the receiver, i.e., the gift will represent a wise use of the money given the gift-giver’s tastes but not necessarily a wise use of money given the recipient’s tastes.  In other words, gift giving can result in a deadweight loss. This paper addresses and clarifies the discrepancy between Waldfogel's (1993) finding of a deadweight loss from gift giving and Solnick and Hemenway's (1996) finding of a deadweight gain from gift giving.  It also builds on some of the concerns raised by Ruffle and Tykocinski (2000).


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