The Case Against Wedding Presents

A blog about business and economics.
June 11 2013 4:56 PM

The Case Against Wedding Presents

As part of Slate's special Weddings Issue I make the case against wedding presents.

The main pushback I've gotten is that the article seems written with a relatively educated relatively affluent audience in mind (i.e., Slate's audience) and things may look different if we're talking about a more financially strapped couple. Maybe so, but, of course, if you want to talk about poorer people then the gift-givers are going to be poorer as well, and fundamentally I think all the same points carry over mutadis mutandis. More broadly, part of the point of the article is that wedding presents are a tradition that doesn't look as good at a time when a relatively large share of the population never marries. Married people are, on average, substantially more financially secure than unmarried people and the causality seems to run in both directions. An aggregate wealth transfer from never-marrieds to marrieds doesn't make much sense.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.