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Tipping as risk sharing

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  • Holland, Steven J.

Abstract

Tipping is often dismissed as an exception to the assumption of rational economic agents. This paper describes situations where tipping is, in fact, an effective mechanism for risk sharing and welfare improvement. When risk-averse customers purchase a service with uncertain quality, tipping can reduce the customer's exposure to risk by making part of the price of the service discretionary. These findings help explain why we tend to tip restaurant workers but not retail workers and why some high-risk service providers, such as lawyers and automobile mechanics, are not typically tipped.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:38:y:2009:i:4:p:641-647
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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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    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. 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.

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