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What sustains social norms and how they evolve? The case of tipping

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  • Ofer H. Azar

    (Northwestern University)

Abstract

The paper presents a model of the evolution of social norms. When a norm is costly to follow and people do not derive benefits from following it except for avoiding social disapproval, the norm erodes over time. Tip percentages, however, increased over the years, suggesting that people derive benefits from tipping, such as impressing others and improving their self-image as being generous and kind. The implications to the norm of not cooperating with new workers who accept lower wages are discussed; the model suggests that incumbent workers have reasons to follow this norm in addition to avoiding social disapproval.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/othr/papers/0309/0309001.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Others with number 0309001.

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Date of creation: 02 Sep 2003
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpot:0309001

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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

Related research

Keywords: Tipping; Social norms; Evolution; Conformist transmission; Conformity;

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References

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  1. Ofer H. Azar, 2003. "The Social Norm of Tipping: A Review," Others 0309006, EconWPA.
  2. Ofer H. Azar, 2003. "The implications of tipping for economics and management," Others 0309002, EconWPA.
  3. Herbert Gintis, 2001. "The Hitchhiker's Guide to Altruism: Gene-Culture Coevolution, and the Internalization of Norms," Working Papers 01-10-058, Santa Fe Institute.
  4. Ernst Fehr & Simon G�chter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
  5. George A. Akerlof, 1978. "A theory of social custom, of which unemployment may be one consequence," Special Studies Papers 118, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  7. Lynn, Michael & McCall, Michael, 2000. "Gratitude and gratuity: a meta-analysis of research on the service-tipping relationship," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 203-214.
  8. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
  9. Lynn, Michael & Grassman, Andrea, 1990. "Restaurant tipping: an examination of three 'rational' explanations," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 169-181, June.
  10. Sethi, Rajiv, 1996. "Evolutionary stability and social norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 113-140, January.
  11. Herbert Gintis, 2001. "The Puzzle of Prosociality," Working Papers 01-10-059, Santa Fe Institute.
  12. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
  13. Sethi, Rajiv & Somanathan, E., 2003. "Understanding reciprocity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 1-27, January.
  14. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
  15. Sethi, Rajiv & Somanathan, E, 1996. "The Evolution of Social Norms in Common Property Resource Use," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 766-88, September.
  16. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
  17. Assar Lindbeck & Dennis J. Snower, 2001. "Insiders versus Outsiders," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 165-188, Winter.
  18. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 2002. "Evolution of Social Behavior: Individual and Group Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 67-88, Spring.
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