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J Exp Psychol Appl. 2008 Sep;14(3):213-25. doi: 10.1037/1076-898X.14.3.213.

Monopoly money: the effect of payment coupling and form on spending behavior.

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Marketing Department, Stern School of Business, New York University, 44 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10012-1126, USA. raghubir@stern.nyu


This article examines consumer spending as a function of payment mode both when the modes differ in terms of payment coupling (association between purchase decision and actual parting of money) and physical form as well as when the modes differ only in terms of form. Study 1 demonstrates that consumers are willing to spend more when a credit card logo is present versus absent. Study 2 shows that the credit card effect can be attenuated when people estimate their expenses using a decomposition strategy (vs. a holistic one). Noting that credit card and cash payments differ in terms of payment coupling and form, Studies 3 and 4 examine consumer spending when the payment mode differs only in physical form. Study 3 demonstrates that consumers spend more when they are spending scrip (a form of stored value certificate) versus cash of the same face value. Study 4 shows that the difference in spending across payment modes (cash and gift certificates) is attenuated by altering the salience of parting with money through contextual manipulations of the differences between cash and gift certificates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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