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The effect of the minimum wage for tipped workers on firm strategy, employees and social welfare

Author

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  • Azar, Ofer H.

Abstract

Millions of workers derive much of their income from tips and are subject to the “tipped minimum wage” that differs from the regular minimum wage. This article examines the implications of the tipped minimum wage and shows that increasing it may lead restaurants to adopt a compulsory service charge in lieu of tipping to extract the economic rent enjoyed by waiters under tipping. Because servers are better off with tipping, this implies that increasing the tipped minimum wage in an attempt to increase servers' income may achieve the opposite result. Moreover, increasing the tipped minimum wage may reduce social welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:19:y:2012:i:5:p:748-755
    DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2012.07.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Azar Ofer H, 2008. "Strategic Behavior and Social Norms in Tipped Service Industries," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-18, March.
    3. Azar, Ofer H., 2009. "Tipping motivations and behavior in the US and Israel," MPRA Paper 20304, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Danziger, Leif, 2010. "Endogenous monopsony and the perverse effect of the minimum wage in small firms," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 224-229, January.
    5. Mincer, Jacob, 1976. "Unemployment Effects of Minimum Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 87-104, August.
    6. 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.
    7. Brown, Charles & Gilroy, Curtis & Kohen, Andrew, 1982. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 487-528, June.
    8. Strobl, Eric & Walsh, Frank, 2011. "The ambiguous effect of minimum wages on hours," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 218-228, April.
    9. 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.
    10. Azar, Ofer H., 2004. "The history of tipping--from sixteenth-century England to United States in the 1910s," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 745-764, December.
    11. John Anderson & Orn Bodvarsson, 2005. "Do higher tipped minimum wages boost server pay?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(7), pages 391-393.
    12. 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.
    13. Matt Parrett, 2006. "An Analysis of the Determinants of Tipping Behavior: A Laboratory Experiment and Evidence from Restaurant Tipping," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 489-514, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Minimum wage; Tipping; The restaurant industry; Business strategy; Tipped workers;

    JEL classification:

    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General

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