Is every dollar bill worth the same? Or does a dollar earned honestly have a different value than a dollar with a sketchy history?
In fact, a new study finds that people think of money made from questionable activity as having less value than profits made above board. And they're less likely to want the tainted money. The study is in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
Subjects were divided into two groups. All subjects got the chance to fill out and enter up to 70 raffle tickets to win $50. But one group was told that the retailer Target provided the prize. While the other group heard the money came from Walmart—and that Walmart had been accused of poor labor practices. The subjects in the “Walmart” group entered significantly fewer tickets than those in the “Target” group.
The participants were then asked to estimate how many grocery items they could buy with their newly won money. And the Walmart group consistently estimated that their $50 would purchase less than the estimates coming out of the Target group. They thought of the Walmart $50 as having less value than the Target $50. Seems a penny saved could be somewhat more or less than a penny earned.