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Joel Waldfogel 300

Waldfogel says Americans vaporize $14 billion worth of value each year by giving gifts their recipients don't really want.

U of M Moment: Give smarter gifts this holiday season

December 16, 2010

To give or not to give? That is the question this holiday season. Based on years of research, Carlson School applied economics professor Joel Waldfogel concludes Americans will vaporize $14 billion worth of value this holiday season by purchasing gifts that have less value to their recipient than they cost.

He says increasing awareness of this problem has propelled spending on gift cards, which will reach $80 billion this year, 10 percent of which are never redeemed.

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videoExpert Perspectives: Joel Waldfogel 

Expert Perspectives: Joel Waldfogel