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'Twas Four Weeks before Christmas: Retail Sales and the Length of the Christmas Shopping Season



I study the effect of the length of the Christmas "shopping season" in the United States (traditionally, beginning the day after US Thanksgiving) on aggregate retail sales. I find a statistically significant increase in per-capita retail sales in November and December (combined) of approximately $6.50 per additional day over the relevant range. The implications of these finding are briefly discussed. Classification-JEL: L81, D12

Suggested Citation

  • Emek Basker, 2004. "'Twas Four Weeks before Christmas: Retail Sales and the Length of the Christmas Shopping Season," Working Papers 0414, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 20 Oct 2004.
  • Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:0414

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joel Waldfogel, 2005. "Does Consumer Irrationality Trump Consumer Sovereignty?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 691-696, November.
    2. Waldfogel, Joel, 1993. "The Deadweight Loss of Christmas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1328-1336, December.
    3. Elizabeth J. Warner & Robert B. Barsky, 1995. "The Timing and Magnitude of Retail Store Markdowns: Evidence from Weekends and Holidays," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 321-352.
    4. Wen, Yi, 2002. "The business cycle effects of Christmas," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1289-1314, September.
    5. David Laibson, 2001. "A Cue-Theory of Consumption," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 81-119.
    6. Alper C. Emre & Aruoba S. Boragan, 2004. "Moving Holidays and Seasonal Adjustment: The Case of Turkey," Review of Middle East Economics and Finance, De Gruyter, vol. 2(3), pages 44-50, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Urbatsch, R., 2013. "Employment effects of Thanksgiving timing," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 42-44.
    2. Wadim Strielkowski, 2014. "Business Potential of Halloween: Sales and Trends," Tržište/Market, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb, vol. 26(2), pages 215-225.
    3. Laura Birg & Anna Goeddeke, 2016. "Christmas Economics—A Sleigh Ride," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(4), pages 1980-1984, October.

    More about this item


    Christmas; Retail; Shopping;

    JEL classification:

    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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