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Do people tip strategically, to improve future service? Theory and evidence

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  • Ofer H. Azar

Abstract

A central question about tipping is whether people tip strategically, to improve future service, or only because tipping is a social norm. I present a theoretical model that incorporates psychological utility associated with tipping (because it is a social norm) and allows tipping to be motivated also by future service considerations. The model predicts that if future service is a reason for tipping, the sensitivity of tips to service quality should be higher for repeating customers than for non-repeating ones. Surveys of 597 restaurant customers are analysed and suggest that future service is not a reason for tipping.

Suggested Citation

  • Ofer H. Azar, 2007. "Do people tip strategically, to improve future service? Theory and evidence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(2), pages 515-527, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:40:y:2007:i:2:p:515-527
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Azar, Ofer H., 2012. "The effect of the minimum wage for tipped workers on firm strategy, employees and social welfare," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 748-755.
    2. Azar, Ofer H., 2011. "Business strategy and the social norm of tipping," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 515-525, June.
    3. Holland, Steven J., 2009. "Tipping as risk sharing," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 641-647, August.
    4. Ockenfels, Axel & Werner, Peter, 2014. "Scale manipulation in dictator games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 138-142.
    5. Ofer H. Azar & Yossi Tobol, 2008. "Tipping as a Strategic Investment in Service Quality: An Optimal-Control Analysis of Repeated Interactions in the Service Industry," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 246-260, July.
    6. Lynn, Michael & Jabbour, Patrick & Kim, Woo Gon, 2012. "Who uses tips as a reward for service and when? An examination of potential moderators of the service–tipping relationship," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 90-103.
    7. Lynn, Michael, 2015. "Explanations of service gratuities and tipping: Evidence from individual differences in tipping motivations and tendencies," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 65-71.
    8. Lynn, Michael, 2015. "Service gratuities and tipping: A motivational framework," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 74-88.
    9. Azar, Ofer H., 2009. "Tipping motivations and behavior in the US and Israel," MPRA Paper 20304, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Greenberg, Adam Eric, 2014. "On the complementarity of prosocial norms: The case of restaurant tipping during the holidays," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 103-112.
    11. Ofer Azar, 2009. "Incentives and service quality in the restaurant industry: the tipping-service puzzle," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(15), pages 1917-1927.
    12. Chih, Yao-Yu, 2016. "Social network structure and government provision crowding-out on voluntary contributions," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 83-90.
    13. Azar, Ofer H., 2006. "Tipping, firm strategy, and industrial organization," MPRA Paper 4485, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Sari, Nazmi, 2013. "On anti-smoking regulations and tobacco consumption," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 60-67.
    15. D'Agostino, Elena & Lisciandra, Maurizio, 2012. "Enforceable vs. non-enforceable contracts: a theoretical appraisal with fair players," MPRA Paper 41261, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General

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