Monday, December 04, 2006

Glad Tidings of Christmastime Utility

Linked from Matt Yglesias, an economics blog questions whether early Christmas decorating & advertising is inefficient. An interesting gloss, but the best part is the first comment to the post:
Whatever the causes, the losers are the kids, who don't receive the utility of playing with the toys during the months when they are hidden in the attic. It is a pure deadweight loss, and in most cases, their returns on Christmas morning rapidly diminish as the number of presents exceeds their capacity for excitement. . . .

As the parent of an 18-month old, I'm having a lot of doubts about saving toys for Christmas morning, since the complexity of the toys and books he can handle seems to double monthly. It would surely be more efficient to get a single Christmas present on the 25th of each month.
This is a spot-on, deadpan parody of the kind of analysis that you start to encounter during undergraduate-level microeconomics. Except that it's not a parody. That young child sounds like he's in for some pretty interesting parenting.

I was always taught that it's the efficient allocation of thought that counts.


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