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Why tip? An empirical test of motivations for tipping car guards

Author

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  • Saunders, Stephen G.
  • Lynn, Michael

Abstract

From a mainstream economic perspective, tipping is often seen as a rather anomalous or irrational economic activity since consumers could legally and willingly avoid paying tips altogether. Nevertheless, this pervasive economic activity generates tens of billions of dollars in income a year, worldwide. In order to better understand this seemingly irrational behavior to tip, this study investigates other potential motives for tipping that draw from the behavioral economics and psychology literature. We test several of these motives in the context of tipping car guards in South Africa and find evidence supporting the ideas that tipping is motivated by desires to: reward good quality service, help service workers, and gain social approval.

Suggested Citation

  • Saunders, Stephen G. & Lynn, Michael, 2010. "Why tip? An empirical test of motivations for tipping car guards," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 106-113, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:31:y:2010:i:1:p:106-113
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Ofer Azar, 2010. "Do people tip because of psychological or strategic motivations? An empirical analysis of restaurant tipping," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(23), pages 3039-3044.
    3. Conlin, Michael & Lynn, Michael & O'Donoghue, Ted, 2003. "The norm of restaurant tipping," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 297-321, November.
    4. Azar, Ofer H., 2004. "What sustains social norms and how they evolve?: The case of tipping," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 49-64, May.
    5. Ofer H. Azar, 2003. "The Social Norm of Tipping: A Review," Others 0309006, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. R. Keith Schwer & Rennae Daneshvary, 2000. "Tipping participation and expenditures in beauty salons," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(15), pages 2023-2031.
    7. Azar, Ofer H., 2007. "Why pay extra? Tipping and the importance of social norms and feelings in economic theory," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 250-265, April.
    8. Ofer Azar, 2005. "Who do we tip and why? An empirical investigation," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(16), pages 1871-1879.
    9. Orn Bodvarsson & William Luksetich & Sherry McDermott, 2003. "Why do diners tip: rule-of-thumb or valuation of service?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(15), pages 1659-1665.
    10. Hayley McEwen & Anthony Leiman, 2008. "The Car Guards of Cape Town: A Public Good Analysis," SALDRU Working Papers 25, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    11. Lynn, Michael & Zinkhan, George M & Harris, Judy, 1993. " Consumer Tipping: A Cross-Country Study," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(3), pages 478-488, December.
    12. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lynn, Michael, 2016. "Why are we more likely to tip some service occupations than others? Theory, evidence, and implications," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 134-150.
    2. Azar, Ofer H. & Yosef, Shira & Bar-Eli, Michael, 2015. "Restaurant tipping in a field experiment: How do customers tip when they receive too much change?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 13-21.
    3. 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.
    4. Lynn, Michael, 2015. "Service gratuities and tipping: A motivational framework," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 74-88.
    5. repec:jtr:journl:v:16:y:2017:i:1:p:176-198 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Lynn, Michael & Starbuck, Mark M., 2015. "Tipping customs: The effects of national differences in attitudes toward tipping and sensitivities to duty and social pressure," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 158-166.
    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.

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