Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dead-Weight Loss of Halloween

The National Confectioners Association estimates that 2005 Halloween sales were $2.1 billion, easily making Halloween the biggest candy season. This year, sales will certainly be higher.

What percentage of those sales end up providing candy that individuals don't really like? If my own careful scientific study of Halloween bags is any guide, perhaps about 75 percent.

It's not the dead that concern me about Halloween. And it is not the impact of all that sugar on the weight of our kids. No, it's the dead-weight loss, or pointless lost utility of the entire enterprise. That likely has a dollar value that exceeds $1.5 billion annually. American citizens squander more than a billion and a half dollars a year on an economically inefficient holiday.

So let's do something to reform Halloween. The first step would be for Halloween donors to give kids money instead of candy. Kids could then go to the supermarket the next day and binge on the candies they really like. That solution would get an A-plus in economics.

-Halloween Is an Economist's Biggest Nightmare


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Rodger said...

Halloween is only one day, so I doubt it has much of an impact on the health of our children today.

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