IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Here's Something you Never Asked for, didn't Know Existed, and can't Easily Obtain: A Search Model of Gift Giving

Listed author(s):
  • Ruffle, B.J.
  • Kaplan, T.R.

Gift giving is thought to be welfare decreasing. This claim rests on two key assumptions, namely, full information as to the whereabouts of all goods and the ability to reach the stores that contain desired goods costlessly. In this paper, we replace these two assumptions with the more realistic assumption of uncertainty about the location of goods. As a result, search costs ensue. In sharp contrast to existing economic models of gift giving, gifts in our model are given only when they enhance expected welfare, that is, the amount they save the receiver looking for the gift himself is higher than the expected price of unwanted gifts. The more difficult it is for the recipient to obtain the good he desires or the lower the price of this good, the more likely he is to receive it as a gift. Search costs affect not only the decision to give but also the choice of gift. We characterize the relationship between gift giving and the giverUs information about the recipient's preferences as well as her information about the gifts available in the economy. We use our model to explain a number of stylized facts about gift giving in modern and primitive societies.

To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

Paper provided by Exeter University, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 0020.

in new window

Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 2000
Handle: RePEc:exe:wpaper:0020
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Streatham Court, Rennes Drive, Exeter EX4 4PU

Phone: (01392) 263218
Fax: (01392) 263242
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:exe:wpaper:0020. 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: (Carlos Cortinhas)

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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.