Endowment Effect: The Cost of Ownership


My mother is subject to arrive for weekend visits with a box or two full of my childhood memories crammed into the backseat. Some objects resonate with me, providing a brief window into my youth, but most carry far greater importance for her, almost as though she is projecting upon me how she thinks I should remember my childhood. It’s an incredibly motherly thing to do and one full of good intentions.

Early last year my parents came into town to see their grandkids, and once again, a large cardboard box with my name on it ended up in the foyer. Instead of the usual comments dripping with contrary subtext about doing whatever we wish with the contents, this time my mother implored me to check the value of the Star Wars toys included.