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Tipping customs: The effects of national differences in attitudes toward tipping and sensitivities to duty and social pressure

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  • Lynn, Michael
  • Starbuck, Mark M.

Abstract

Consumers around the world often give voluntary sums of money (called “tips”) to the service workers who have served them, but the set of tipped professions and the amounts tipped to any one profession differ from country to country. One explanation for these national differences in tipping customs is that they reflect national differences in attitude toward tipping, sensitivity to duty/obligation to tip, and sensitivity to social pressure to tip. Furthermore, these variables have been hypothesized to mediate the previously observed effects on tipping customs of national extraversion, psychoticism and neuroticism respectively. Analyses of secondary data found support for these explanations of national differences in tipping customs, but only partial support for their roles as mediators of national personality effects on tipping customs. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed along with study limitations and directions for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:57:y:2015:i:c:p:158-166
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2014.07.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    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. Ofer Azar, 2005. "Who do we tip and why? An empirical investigation," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(16), pages 1871-1879.
    5. Xinshu Zhao & John G. Lynch & Qimei Chen, 2010. "Reconsidering Baron and Kenny: Myths and Truths about Mediation Analysis," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(2), pages 197-206, August.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.

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