February 6, 2023
The Washington Post recently published an article featuring Nina Mazar, Professor of Marketing, discussing how the best things in life are free.
Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller started the Buy Nothing Project, an idea to encourage their neighbors to give away unwanted possessions instead of trashing them, and to take others’ things instead of buying something new and adding to the heaps of plastic circulating the globe. By design, the app is used to ask people within the community if they would be willing to part with an item – for free. Members are prohibited from selling and trading, or even mentioning monetary value of items. The movement spread dramatically over the last few years and now encompasses more than 7,000 groups. Possessions that have been successfully given in the past include a half-eaten bag of frozen chicken tenders, books, a broken hot dog roller, and even a bag of guinea pig poop. Mazar states, “What our research has basically shown is that when people encounter items that are free, they overvalue them. From an economics perspective, we would just value those costs and the benefits.”