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An Objective Measure of Service and Its Effect on Tipping


  • Peter M. Kerr

    (Southeast Missouri State University)

  • Bruce R. Domazlicky

    (Southeast Missouri State University)

  • Adam P. Kerr
  • Joseph R. Knittel


The effect of service quality on tipping is not well documented. Surveys indicate at least a weak relationship between service quality and the size of the tip. We look at an objective measure of service, the time it takes a delivery driver to deliver an order to a customer and relate it to the subsequent tip. We estimate a regression model that confirms that the tip percentage increases as the time to delivery decreases, while controlling for such factors as income, gender, and race. Therefore, while tipping is subject to strong social norms, we at least provide some evidence that service quality also affects the probability and size of a tip.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter M. Kerr & Bruce R. Domazlicky & Adam P. Kerr & Joseph R. Knittel, 2006. "An Objective Measure of Service and Its Effect on Tipping," Journal of Economic Insight, Missouri Valley Economic Association, vol. 32(2), pages 61-69.
  • Handle: RePEc:mve:journl:v:32:y:2006:i:2:p:61-69

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    Cited by:

    1. Tin-Chun Lin, 2007. "Economic Behavior of Restaurant Tipping," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(2), pages 1-10.
    2. Frank, David G. & Lynn, Michael, 2020. "Shattering the Illusion of the Self-Earned Tip: The Effect of a Restaurant Magician on Co-Workers’ Tips," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 87(C).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • C20 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - General
    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines


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