In search of welfare-improving gifts
Gift giving is thought to decrease welfare. Recipients are sometimes stuck with gifts they would not have purchased because the giver does not perfectly know the recipient's preferences and in-kind gifts cannot be costlessly refunded. Such gifts are welfare reducing compared to giving cash if, in addition, recipients possess full information as to which stores carry their desired goods and the ability to reach these stores costlessly. We replace these two latter assumptions with the more realistic assumptions of uncertainty about the location of goods and search costs. In contrast to existing economic models, gifts in our model enhance expected welfare. Moreover, gift giving cannot be replaced by a profit-maximizing trader nor the introduction of nearby specialty stores carrying gift goods. We use our model to explain a number of stylized facts about gift giving, the organization of retail trade and in-kind government transfers.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Pieters, Rik & Robben, Henry, 1999. "Consumer Evaluation of Money as a Gift: A Two-Utility Model and an Empirical Test," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 173-200.
- Neil Bruce & Michael Waldman, 1988.
"Transfers in Kind: Why They Can Be Efficient and Non-Paternalistic,"
UCLA Economics Working Papers
532, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Bruce, Neil & Waldman, Michael, 1991. "Transfers in Kind: Why They Can Be Efficient and Nonpaternalistic," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1345-51, December.
- Fischer, Eileen & Arnold, Stephen J, 1990. " More than a Labor of Love: Gender Roles and Christmas Gift Shopping," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(3), pages 333-45, December.
- Mercier Ythier, Jean, 2006. "The Economic Theory of Gift-Giving: Perfect Substitutability of Transfers and Redistribution of Wealth," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
- Besley, T. & Coate, S., 1989.
"Public Provision Of Private Goods And The Redistribution Of Income,"
36, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
- Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1991. "Public Provision of Private Goods and the Redistribution of Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 979-84, September.
- Ted Bergstrom, .
"On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings,"
_023, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
- Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1995. "On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 58-81, March.
- Theodore C. Bergstrom, . "On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings," ELSE working papers 017, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
- H. Lorne Carmichael & W. Bentley MacLeod, 1997.
"Gift Giving and the Evolution of Cooperation,"
Boston College Working Papers in Economics
338., Boston College Department of Economics.
- Prendergast, Canice & Stole, Lars, 2001. "The non-monetary nature of gifts," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 1793-1810, December.
- Joel Waldfogel, 2002. "Gifts, Cash, and Stigma," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(3), pages 415-427, July.
- Gary S. Becker, 1974.
"A Theory of Social Interactions,"
NBER Working Papers
0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Posner, Richard A, 1980.
"A Theory of Primitive Society, with Special Reference to Law,"
Journal of Law and Economics,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 1-53, April.
- Richard A. Posner, 1979. "A Theory of Primitive Society with Special Reference to Law," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 7, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Solnick, Sara J & Hemenway, David, 1996. "The Deadweight Loss of Christmas: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1299-1305, December.
- Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
- Ruffle, Bradley J., 1999. "Gift giving with emotions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 399-420, July.
- Orit Tykocinski & Bradley J. Ruffle, 2000. "The Deadweight Loss of Christmas: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 319-324, March.
- Carol Horton Tremblay & Victor Tremblay, 1995. "Children and the economics of Christmas gift-giving," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(9), pages 295-297.
- Theodore C. Bergstrom, 2002. "Evolution of Social Behavior: Individual and Group Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 67-88, Spring.
- Waldfogel, Joel, 1993. "The Deadweight Loss of Christmas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1328-36, December.
- Pollak, Robert A, 1988. "Tied Transfers and Paternalistic Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 240-44, May.
- Joel Waldfogel, 2005. "Does Consumer Irrationality Trump Consumer Sovereignty?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 691-696, November.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:53:y:2009:i:4:p:445-460. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.