Through a Thanksgiving Top Ten list, we can see how economics has the perfect lens for understanding our holiday behavior.
Thanksgiving Top Ten List
A behavioral economist could explain some of our attitudes about Thanksgiving…
10. A Default can shape our behavior:
- Because the Thanksgiving menu is pre-set, we rarely change it.
9. We display Confirmation Bias:
- The holiday meal is good because we expect it to be good.
8. Called Choice Architecture, our alternatives determine our decisions :
- Our holiday menu skyrockets our calorie consumption to over 3,000.
Those 3,000 calories are equal to…
7. Our pleasure during the meal can depend on our Diminishing Marginal Utility:
- The first bites are the best bites. After that we get less extra pleasure.
6. After the meal, we bear the burden of Temporal Discounting:
- Thanksgiving dinner gives us considerable short term pleasure. But there is a long term cost.
From here, traditional economic ideas can take over…
5. Future Expectations:
- Some of us demand less during dinner because we look forward to leftovers.
4. Complementary Goods:
- We demand more stuffing and cranberries because they are great with turkey.
- It takes slightly less than two hours of work for someone that earns an average U.S. wage of $32.58 (BLS) to pay $64.05 for this year’s Thanksgiving meal for 10.
- At $64.05, dinner for 10 is up from $53.31, a whopping 20 percent increase from 2021.
1. The Invisible Hand:
- With Minnesota #1 at more than 40 million turkeys, because of the market system, we have lots of Thanksgiving birds:
Our Bottom Line: Adding #11 to the Top 10: Thankstaking and Traditional Economic Systems
Yesterday, Axios posted ” The Rise of Thankstaking.” Detailing what observers of Thankstaking (instead of Thanksgiving) believe, Axios reminded us of the economics of indigenous people that our schools ignore. Ranging from the environmentally respectful culture of the Wampanoag to the Europeans’ horrific treatment of indigenous people, their traditional economic system deserves more attention from us. So, as we commemorate the meal (and perhaps three day feast) shared by the Wampanoag with the Pilgrims, we can also recognize what we can learn from the people who were here when the Europeans arrived.
We need a top 11 Thanksgiving list. Any you would add for 12-15? Please let me know.
Do take a look at this video: