The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • C. A. Gregory
Reference work entry


A gift, according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, is a ‘voluntary transference of property; thing given, present, donation’. For most economists, especially those familiar only with industrial capitalist economies, this is all that need be said on the matter: it is obvious what gift exchange is and there is nothing to be explained. The only problem the phenomenon of exchange poses for the economist is that of ‘value’ and this arises in the context of commodity exchange.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. Gregory
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