• Hanukkah-nomics

    I had thought about posting on Hanukkah but wasn’t sure I’d get to it. Now that Alex Tabarrok has shared the following “how an economist explains Hanukkah” image (originating with Seth Giter), I feel I should weigh in.

    My Hanukkah sentiments are not as close to economics as Tabarrok’s and Giter’s. Or, I could really stretch the concept of human capital or home production and strain for an economics angle. But I won’t.

    I have now experienced Hanukkah with two different, though highly correlated, three year olds (my daughters). From this small sample, I draw the following robust conclusion: three year olds think candles descend into the menorah as they burn. It’s a lovely misunderstanding. This observation was noted in my holiday season story from last year (that story was written a few years before I posted it).

    However, at least one six year old (my older daughter) accepts the idea that sold wax turns into gas. Hanukkah is very educational.

    Happy Hanukkah everyone!

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    • My Hannukah-nomics:

      My girlfriend and I decided to aim for one present per night, subject to a global budget. I have been struggling mightily with the 1 present per night requirement. The system is rewarding me for the number of presents I provide (no less than 8), which is interfering with my ability to choose the most cost-effective presents. I think 2-3 good presents would provide more happiness than 8 not-so-good ones. The incentives are all wrong. Maybe we’ll try something new next year…

    • Aaron,

      Middle ground. 2-3 good presents and the rest small.

      Unfortunately, the rules are more complex when you’re talking kids.

      • True confession: we don’t do Hanukkah presents at all, just a big family present night sometime in the late teens or early 20s of December. For us, Hanukkah is all about the candles and the stories, plus the latkes and the applesauce.

    • Happy Hanukah!