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In The Hunger Games, when the tributes are in the arena, people on the outside can buy gifts for them. It's said that the usefulness of items increases their cost, along with how far into the Games the gift is purchased. But how does this economy work? How can the Districts, which are kept in poverty, afford buying any gifts? Who pools the money that goes to the gifts, and who selects the gift? Where does the money go when a gift is purchased? Do the Gamemakers set the prices?

I don't believe these questions are answered within the books, so I'm looking for information the author revealed in supplemental materials or interviews.

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I posted this question to my Facebook page and got an answer from my friend Lindsay:

To partially answer your question with just what I've read in the books, I believe most of the gifts come from the Capitol, where the citizens do have lots of money. The games are mostly for the Capitol's entertainment, so I think the gifts were meant as a way for them to participate. I also think the Capitol never really considered that the districts would be able to scrimp and save enough to send a gift. When Rue's district pools their money to send Katniss a gift, that was considered such an important gift not just because it was from an opposing district, but also because she knew how hard it must have been to gather up that much money. So I think that's an unusual occurrence. But, yeah, they never really explain it.

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    The books made a point of saying that people from the Districts could and would buy gifts, which is what prompted my question. They also make the point of showing how poor the Capital keeps the Districts. Maybe this is a sort of additional taxation measure. Take money to help ensure a victory in the Games. – user1027 Dec 8 '11 at 21:06
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Poorer district would collect money to send gifts to their tributes if they survived the Cornicopia. For the rich citizens of the Capitol, I saw the gift giving as a way to keep the tributes they placed bets on alive. It is never specifically outlined but given the greed and consumption of the Capitol, I don't think it is beyond reason to believe that citizens of the Capitol did all they could to keep their favorite tributes alive.

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