Want me to spend? Give me cash.

Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational, blogs about economic stimulus. His point is that our behavior hinges not just how much money the government gives us, or when, but also in what form. I know that if the government silently sticks $600 into my bank account, I’m likely to put it in a college fund. If they give me a check, I’ll probably save most of it. But if they came up with a way to put six c-notes in my wallet, I would leave work this afternoon, a hole burning in my pocket, and act like the dumbest consumer around—exactly what the government wants. Dan urges the goverment to carry out behavioral experiments.

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