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Why We Like Crisp, New Dollar Bills

Crisp bills are for special occasions
Stacks of $100 bills are loosened before the Bureau of Engraving and Printing cuts them into singles in Washington

Stacks of $100 bills are loosened before the Bureau of Engraving and Printing cuts them into singles in Washington Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Economists may understand money, but they don’t get cash. Not just a means of payment, cash is a consumer item that people like fresh and clean, like lettuce. So say two marketing professors in a study that will be published in the April 2013 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

Their study’s lengthy title says it all: “Money Isn’t Everything, But It Helps If It Doesn’t Look Used: How the Physical Appearance of Money Influences Spending.”