Faculty Advisor

Christie Klimas PhD


This project examines the relationship between gift giving deadweight loss (when the cost of a gift exceeds it value to the recipient) or welfare gain (when the value of a gift to a recipient exceeds the cost of a gift), and the environmental impact of gifts. Surveys of American adults were used to determine the economic welfare losses or gains created by holiday gift giving, comparing gifts of traditional (paper) books and DVD or Blu-ray format movies. Both products showed overall welfare gains as gifts, with books averaging a larger welfare gain than movies. An ANOVA was done to determine the effect of the relationship between the giver and receiver on the amount of welfare gain or loss. The second phase of this study uses life cycle assessment, a process used to evaluate the environmental impact of a product, to compare the global warming impacts of books and movie discs. Preliminary results are presented here for books. Initial results indicate higher global warming impacts for hardcover books than paperbacks, due largely to the additional inputs required during book production. In the future, life cycle assessment of movie discs and analysis of the relationship between welfare gain or loss and the global warming potential impact will be done to determine which type of gift has the lower impact in terms of global warming potential, compared to the welfare gain to the recipient.