Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Dirty money' affects spending habits, new study finds

Date:
November 14, 2012
Source:
University of Guelph
Summary:
Looks matter -- even when it comes to money. A new study has found that currency's physical appearance dramatically affects consumer behavior.

The physical appearance of money matters more than traditionally thought.
Credit: Oleksandra Voinova / Fotolia

Looks matter -- even when it comes to money. A new study co-authored by a University of Guelph professor has found that currency's physical appearance dramatically affects consumer behaviour.

People are more likely to spend dirty, crumpled currency and hold on to new bills, according to the study forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Research and available online now.

But in social situations -- and especially when they're looking to impress someone else -- people reach for new bills even when they have older, higher-denomination currency on hand.

"Basically, the physical appearance of money matters more than traditionally thought," said Theodore Noseworthy, a professor in Guelph's Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies who conducted the research with Fabrizio Di Muro of the University of Winnipeg.

It's an important finding for many reasons, Noseworthy said, primarily because it challenges some long-held beliefs that we perceive only the nominal (face) value of money.

"We tend to regard currency as a means to consumption and not a product itself. In other words, it should not matter if it's dirty or worn because it has the same value regardless," he said.

"But what we show is that money is indeed a vehicle for social utility, and that it's actually subject to the same inferences and biases as the products it can buy."

In five different studies, the researchers gave subjects new or old bills and asked them to shop and spend. In all of the studies, people spent more and took more chances with older, worn money.

All of the studies found the same main reason: people's aversion to "dirty money."

"It's the 'ick' factor," Noseworthy said. "The idea of touching something that others also handled: people want to rid themselves of worn currency, because they are disgusted by the contamination from others."

He said people value a crisp new bill because they take pride in it, especially when they can spend it around others. People were more likely to spend more of their new-looking currency, even if they had to use four $5 bills rather than one crumpled $20 bill.

"It turns out money itself can be part of conspicuous consumption," Noseworthy said.

This research has caught the eye of authorities who print new currency and take "old" money out of circulation, particularly in an economy driven by consumer spending, said Noseworthy. The study might also interest Canadian authorities, who recently introduced more durable polymer bills that will likely look "new" longer.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Guelph. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Fabrizio Di Muro and Theodore J. Noseworthy. Money Isn’t Everything, but It Helps If It Doesn’t Look Used: How the Physical Appearance of Money Influences Spending. Journal of Consumer Research, April 2013

Cite This Page:

University of Guelph. "'Dirty money' affects spending habits, new study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121114113819.htm>.
University of Guelph. (2012, November 14). 'Dirty money' affects spending habits, new study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121114113819.htm
University of Guelph. "'Dirty money' affects spending habits, new study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121114113819.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) A new study says marijuana use could lead to serious heart-related complications. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins